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Wakerahkáhtste iontákia'ts
Louise Herne


About Louise

Wakerahkáhtste Louise McDonald Herne is a condoled Bear Clan Mother for the Mohawk Nation Council. She is a trusted advisor for families and community youth and works closely with them in their homes and schools. She bestows traditional names in the longhouse and provides spiritual counsel for all those seeking support. 

Through her work as a matrilineal leader and as a mother, she is a founding member of Konón:kwe Council, a circle of Mohawk women working to reconstruct the power of their origins through education, empowerment and trauma-informed approaches. Louise champions the philosophy of Kahnisténhsera, "Mother Law" --a natural law that binds Ohnwehón:we, or Indigenous, kinship society. She is also the lead conductor of the Moon Lodge Society, a convening women and girls on a monthly basis in line with the full moon cycle. Louise is the principal organizer and leader of Oheró:kon, a traditional Rite of Passage ceremony for Mohawk youth. Since 2005, she has guided hundreds of community families and volunteers through self-reflection and Ratinonhsón:ni cultural instruction and ceremony. 

She has also presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and lectures regularly at universities throughout Canada and the United States on Ratinonhsón:ni philosophies and self-determination in regards to women. She has been the Distinguished Scholar in Indigenous Learning at McMaster University Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL) and received an honorary PhD from SUNY Canton. Her most recent work includes a feature in the documentary film, "Without a Whisper: Konnon:kwe" about the Ratinonhsón:ni women's influence on the women's rights movement. 

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