Donald Marshall Jr.

Executive Director Joan Glode
Mik'maw Family and Children's Services of Nova Scotia

Joan Glode, C.M., - The Order of Canada

Joan Glode – Installed into the Order of Canada, November 4, 2009

A Tribute to a Remarkable Mi’kmaq Leader

Dr. Joan Glode, C.M., a dear friend of many decades, is a remarkable Mi’kmaq woman of many accomplishments and talents! She has no hesitation relating who was the most influential person in her life, and whose memory she holds dear, her mother. Mary, wanted the best for her children, and in this regard encouraged her and her siblings, from early age, to seek excellence, get educated, and be self-sufficient. Inspired by such loving encouragement, Joan has succeeded with gusto.

Glode was born to her beloved late parents Mary, nee Paul, and Frank Glode in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1947. She is a member of the Mi’kmaq First Nation Community of Acadia (Band). Her early education was acquired at schools in Eastern Passage and Dartmouth, where she was raised. She now resides with her long-time partner, Bob Backen, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, in the Prospect Bay area of Halifax County. They have a daughter, Darcy, who has gifted them with two beloved grandchildren, Jonah and Autumn River.

The following is Tribute written about Joan by Nancy MacDonald, a friend and colleague.

Daniel N. Paul


By Nancy MacDonald, January 7, 2010

Joan Glode has many accomplishments in her life, she is a daughter, a partner, a mother, a grandmother, a social worker, a friend to Mi'kmaq peoples and all Aboriginal people in Canada and in the world. Joan's parents were Mary (nee Paul) from Bear River Band and Frank Glode from the Acadia Band in Nova Scotia. She recalls her mother being a blessed and inspiring mentor to her as everyday of her mother's life, she devoted to her children and was determined that her children would be educated to learn to look after themselves (Interview for National Aboriginal Achievement Award). Joan would have other inspiring mentors along the way, such as the case with Noel Doucette, former Chapel Island Chief and one of the founders of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians who taught Joan to always make sure things were done the right way but her mother's teaching inspired Joan to be nurturing, caring and determined to succeed in life. Joan's long term partner is Bob Bracken and together they have one daughter, Darcy, who has gifted them with grandchildren, Jonah and Autumn River.

Joan was one of the first people from the Mi'kmaq community to graduate with a Master's degree in Social Work from the Maritime School of Social Work (currently known as the School of Social Work, Dalhousie University), which she received in 1973. Since that time, Joan has worked both on and off reserves in programs involving social services, such as a Human Rights Officer with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Executive Director of the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax, and as a middle manager in the Social Services department of Northern and Indian Affairs Canada. Joan's determination to do things the right way all started one morning in 1975 when she was going into the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre and there were two youths in the doorway. She invited them into the Centre for a cup of tea when one of them said, 'I grew up in foster care but I think I came from a certain native community – can you tell me who I am'? She was moved into a life decision to do things the right way, as these youths taught her how lost some of our children have become. They didn't know who they were, they couldn't speak their language, they didn't know their traditions because they were in foster care outside their own community.

Joan helped to develop Mi'kmaw Family & Children's Services in Nova Scotia, a mandated child welfare agency that also operates two Family Treatment Centres that provide shelter and safety to women and children, and an outreach counselling service to men. Joan recalls in her interview to receive the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, that the inspiration behind the creation of a community-based children's service agency was the two youths who meet her at doors of the Mi'kmaq Friendship Center in 1975. Mi'kmaw Family & Children's Services in Nova Scotia opened in 1985. As Executive Director, she has provided the agency social workers and staff with the vision and direction to provide mandated and culturally relevant child welfare services to Mi'kmaq families and children. Over the years, she has encouraged the development of culturally relevant First Nations child welfare services in the agency, such as the Alternate Care Policy (currently known as respite care), Family-Group Conferencing and more recently, Custom Adoptions. She has met the many challenges of her position with integrity and humility and continues to move the agency forward in the quest to decolonize the policies, practices and services embedded within non-Aboriginal child welfare services. Through her efforts, she has shown us there is 'hope' for our children and families.

In addition to providing leadership, vision and direction to the social workers and staff of Mi'kmaw Family & Children Services of Nova Scotia and the two Treatment Centres, she has served on numerous Boards and Committees, both provincially and nationally, such as the Mi'kmaq Friendship Center and the Native Mental Health Association of Canada. Currently, she serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. This agency is national in scope and its mission is building communities through research, policy development, networking and professional development. In 2007, Joan, as President of the Board of Directors of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Chief Phil Fontaine, Assembly of First Nations (AFN). This was a historic step to hold the Government of Canada accountable before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its current treatment of First Nations children and families. This complaint alleges that the Government of Canada has a longstanding pattern of providing less government funding for child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves than is provided to non-Aboriginal children. In October, 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission ordered a tribunal to determine whether or not discrimination had occurred pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act. More information on this process can be located at http://www.fnwitness.ca

Joan is also an accomplished writer and academic mentor and role model. She has taught as a sessional instructor at the School of Social Work, Dalhousie University and has co-written various articles such as Respecting Aboriginal Families: Pathways to Resilience in Custom Adoption and Family Group Conferencing and Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing in a First Nations Setting: An Example of Community-University Collaboration. Joan has demonstrated that one person can make a difference and she was acknowledged for her many contributions by Dalhousie University as she was awarded with an honorary PhD of Philosophy degree in 2009.

Joan has recently been acknowledged for her many contributions to social justice issues and to improving the quality of child welfare services for First Nations people, especially Mi'kmaq children and families, by being honoured with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (March 6th, 2009). Cindy Blackstock (Executive Director of FNCFCS) states that she was acknowledged with this honour in recognition of her many contributions to the well being of Aboriginal children and families in Canada and around the world and has earned the reputation as one of the wisest, hardest working and generous leaders in Aboriginal children's services (FNCFCS Newsletter, Winter, 2008). Most recently, she had become a member of The Order of Canada. This is Canada's highest honour for personal achievement. Last but certainly not least to Joan, she was chosen to be an Olympic Torch Carrier for the Canadian Olympic Games, and represented the Mi'kmaq peoples with pride.

Although some people may disagree, Joan says she never accomplished anything on her own. She acknowledges the team of workers, referring both to the social workers and staff at Indianbrook, Millbrook, Eskasoni, and Waycobah, and says it's about the work we do. The Spirit of the Olympic Torch for the Canadian Olympic Games is the same inspired spirit that burns within her. Thanks to the blessed and inspiring mentors in her life to be able to provide her such a foundation or 'roots' that were needed in order for her to grow into the mentor and role model she has become. You are an inspiration to so many of us Joan, and thank you for doing things the right way.


Quoted from a Halifax Herald Story - December 31, 2009

Four Nova Scotians join Order of Canada

Joan Glode knows how to keep a secret.

The founding director and ex­ecutive director of Mik’maw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia, Ms. Glode knew two months ago she was going to become a member of the Order of Canada.

But the 30-year-veteran of working within the children’s welfare system is more than capa­ble of protecting information.

“Everything in child welfare work is confidential and secret, so it’s second nature to me be­cause I can’t talk about many things," she laughed.

A member of the Acadia band, Ms. Glode works out of the Indian Brook office of the agency. There are other offices in Waycobah, Es­kasoni and Millbrook.

“When you get the call from the Governor General’s office, it’s just a lovely experience," she said.

“I think I was stunned for a day or two."

A highly respected leader in the Mi’kmaq community, Ms. Glode regards herself as merely a team leader, and credits all mem­bers of the team for the success of the agency.

“The residential school system took away so much, and we are dealing with the first generation of Mi’kmaq people who didn’t experience residential schools," she said.

“It’s important we reclaim the language, the stories and the tra­ditions, and that’s what we are do­ing.

“We are reweaving the fabric of our society and incorporating our traditions, our ways.

“It is our job to quietly re-weave things back together, do things in our traditional ways and bring to­gether our communities again."

In a news release Wednesday from the office of Gov. Gen. Mi­chaelle Jean, Ms. Glode was iden­tified as one of 57 new appoint­ments from Rideau Hall for her “leadership and devotion to the social welfare of aboriginal chil­dren and families in Nova Sco­tia."

This is not the first honour Ms. Glode has received this year. In March, she also received a Na­tional Aboriginal Achievement Award at an awards ceremony in Winnipeg.


November 24, 2010

AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo Congratulates Joan Glode on Receiving Order of Canada

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo issued the following statement congratulating Joan Glode, who received the Order of Canada on November 17:

“Joan Glode is a proud member of the Mi’kmaq First Nation Community of Acadia. She has dedicated her life in helping Aboriginal families and children. Her longtime work as the founder and Executive Director for the Mi’kmaw Family and Children Services has helped many people in Nova Scotia and the organization is viewed as one of the best in the country. Joan is a leader in applying culture, traditional knowledge and traditional healing methods to social services in communities. On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, we congratulate her and salute her courage and resolve in protecting and advocating for our families and children.”

Joan Glode is the Executive Director of Mi'kmaw Family and Children's Services which supports 13 First Nations communities and also is Vice-President of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. She has also provided her experience to the Halifax Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Center and the Native Mental Health Association of Canada.