Walking through the Woodroffe campus this year, people might not have realized an internationally respected environmental activist was walking the same halls.
Not a household name, but famous enough.
At 18 years old, Autumn Peltier has spoken at the United Nations, addressed key leaders of the country given speeches at Harvard and won a Children’s Peace Prize. She was named chief water commissioner of the Anishenabek Nation in 2019 at 14 years old.
Peltier is a Canadian Indigenous environmental activist and water protector. Born in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, Ont., she is a member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation.
Peltier has been a prominent voice for the protection of water and Indigenous rights since she was eight years old. The dress she wore when she addressed the United Nations is on display at the Canadian Museum of History.
“I’m on a chocolate bar,” said Peltier and she proudly grabbed her phone to share the ad campaign for Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme.
The perfect chocolate bar representation of her.
Sweet, but gritty.
Hershey Canada worked with Toronto-based mural artist Gosia Komorski to bring women’s stories to life on limited-edition Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme and Hershey’s Whole Almond bars.
“As a society, it’s important to continue to uplift and recognize the strength of all women,” said Peltier, who is excited to see her bar wrapper and story come to life.
“Everyone deserves a seat at the table — there is power in the word she,” said Peltier.
Peltier’s tireless work has had a significant impact, inspiring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around the world to join the fight for water protection and climate justice. She continues to be a voice for the voiceless and a passionate advocate for her culture and the environment.
A student in the pathways to Indigenous empowerment program this year, she has managed to move quietly through the college’s hallways, mostly unnoticed.
“The P.I.E. program was a great bridge into a college course, for me because it’s directed toward Indigenous students,” said Peltier. “It helped me figure out what direction I wanted to go. I was undecided between a few things.”
Peltier will be moving on to the University of Ottawa next year to study criminology.
She had many prestigious schools extend invitations to her. Staying close to home drew Peltier to the University of Ottawa.
“All my family lives in Ottawa. I love spending time with my family,” said Peltier. “My sister is one of my biggest priorities. I can’t leave my sister.”
Peltier explained why she chose the criminology program.
“I’d like to further a career in Indigenous rights, and human rights law, and aim to focus my work on murdered and missing Indigenous women,” said Peltier.
That’s not all she has going on.
“I’m actually training toward competing in bodybuilding,” Peltier said with a smirk.
“Yes, it’s cool that I’m on a chocolate bar, but not sure I’ll be eating too many of them.”