To Gladys Taylor Cook, there is beauty and strength in everyone. For over 25 years the dedicated and loved Elder has committed her life to working with Aboriginal youth at the Agassiz Youth Centre and with Aboriginal female offenders at the Portage Correctional Centre. At the heart of her work lies the strength of her Dakota heritage and her own experiences.
At the age of four, Ms. Taylor Cook was sent to residential school and removed from the family she loved and the place she called home. She recalls vividly the hardships and loneliness she endured for years. Despite the challenges she faced, Ms. Taylor Cook emerged a survivor and continues to inspire generations of Aboriginal people. Over the course of a lifetime she has channelled that experience into alleviating the loneliness of others who are often in desperate situations.
With her gentle heart and powerful courage she gives hope to Aboriginal youth and women by tirelessly offering her guidance on how to overcome the obstacles they face. She takes her simple message of strength to numerous organizations including First Nations communities, service clubs, church groups, and prisons. Ms. Taylor Cook also gives workshops about Aboriginal cultural and spiritual teachings to correctional facilities, service agencies and to the community at large.
Her inspiring work – while often private in nature – has not gone unnoticed. Aside from touching the lives of hundreds of people, the Governor General of Canada recently acknowledged Ms. Taylor Cook’s contributions to community service.
Ms. Taylor Cook also contributes her time as a Board Member for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Native Policing, Winnipeg, MB) and former Board Member for Marymound as well as serving as an Elder Justice for the Province of Manitoba.