Shana Pasapa - National Youth Panelist
Shana Pasapa, a mixed martial arts fighter, who creates and sells bead work and powwow regalia, embraces the holistic approach of body, mind and spirit.
The 31-year-old Nakota woman from the Whitebear First Nations lives in Regina. She is the founder and head instructor of Power Our Women (POW) Self Defence. She started POW because she believed women needed encouragement to maintain a healthy self-protection plan. Her self-defence classes not only include basic striking and blocking skills, but also situational awareness and risk reduction.
“The journey with POW in the different communities has taught me a lot about life management, business, current issues and balance. I also feel my own struggles and triumphs have made me a much stronger person today while acknowledging the struggles and triumphs of my own ancestors,” said Pasapa, mother to two boys.
Seven years ago, she found her passion in marital arts, training in jiu jitsu and muay thai. She began competing professionally in 2017 and has bouts planned for 2018 and 2019.
Pasapa’s success also includes receiving the CBC Future 40 Award in 2015, The Strength of Our Women Award for Sports in 2015, and being sponsored by clothing companies as an athlete.
“A strong mind and spirit will keep you ahead and prepared for opportunity,” said Pasapa.
Consultant Delilah Mah nominated Pasapa for Cando’s National Youth Panel, writing that Pasapa “serves her community by sharing her gifts, passion, and skills. Shana exhibits great resiliency, initiative, strength and commitment to the community on municipal, provincial and national levels - while ensuring the protect(ion) and inclusion of her culture. She is the type of leader that will truly leave you feeling empowered.”
Pasapa says being nominated to the panel is “humbling.”
“Receiving acknowledgment for the work POW does fuels my fire and keeps me going strong,” she said.
She believes her story of “resilience and transformation” can empower the panel.
“I also know that even in loss (losing a loved one), life doesn’t stop for you. You have to keep going but be present. The emotions are temporary and it will pass,” she said.
Pasapa expresses her priorities for youth in what she does: body awareness, personal protection and having a dream.
“Hope is a great tool when you don't have a lot to work with, it can take us a long ways. Sometimes, in order to really appreciate opportunity and get the most out of it, we need to maintain a state of well-being,” she said.