Shayla Oulette Stonechild

“If you don’t work on your own inner self, you’re going to burn yourself out; you can’t fill from an empty cup.”

Shayla Oulette Stonechild, Canadian Cree-Mètis wellness advocate. 

Shayla Oulette Stonechild is Mètis and Nehiyaw Iskwew (Plains Cree Woman) from Muscowpetung First Nations. She is a storyteller, yoga instructor and the founder of Matriarch Movement, a podcast and non-profit organization that hosts wellness workshops for Indigenous youth, all with a focus on bringing balance to mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. As an adolescent, Oulette Stonechild received the title of Mètis Youth Ambassador of Alberta and was a finalist for Miss Teen Canada, representing her hometown of Medicine Hat. She also is the first Indigenous woman to grace the cover of the prestigious Yoga Journal

Shayla Oulette Stonechild has been acting, dancing and modelling since the age of six. Growing up, her mother ran a performing arts company. After losing her father to suicide in December 2009, she found healing through yoga at the age of 18, later becoming an instructor. Oulette Stonechild moved to Vancouver to act, graduating from the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts. When not filming, she began teaching yoga. Her yoga practice is trauma-informed, and she sees similarities between Indigenous teachings and yoga. “You have to work on balancing the medicine wheel within you—your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health—before you can start to help out your community and then globally” she has said.

The idea for the Matriarch Movement came to Oulette Stonechild in a dream—she believes it was a message from her ancestors—and she immediately set about making it a reality, empowering and giving a voice to Indigenous women. "Whenever you look at mainstream media, it's usually from a place of survival or a place of scarcity. When it comes to Indigenous women we're always highlighted in a vulnerable way," said Stonechild to the CBC. She is also working toward more Indigenous representation within the health and wellness industry. Her workshops include breathwork, movement, and meditation exercises, and a focus on suicide prevention and addiction awareness. 

In her spare time Oulette Stonechild likes to go to Kitsilano Beach, and enjoy the ocean. She has collaborated with Lululemon and Paris Jewellers, for which she designed a gold arrowhead necklace in support of the Matriarch Movement. She has a tattoo of a butterfly, a First Nations symbol of transformation, metamorphosis, beauty, balance, and grace, and an eagle, representing power, prestige, peace and wisdom. She likes to listen to “A Tribe Called Red,” she told Refinery 29. She was part of Red Earth Uncovered, a documentary series on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, where she explores Indigenous mysteries, myths, and legends, and she appeared in the TV movie “Indian Road Trip,” which won two Leo Awards in 2020.

By allowing Indigenous women to reclaim their voices that have been silenced and stolen throughout colonial history, Oulette Stonechild is part of a shift to reclaim the Indigenous world view. 


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