(Sept. 25, 2017) – Today the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, Robert Falcon Ouellette during Members Statements in the House of Commons addressed the passing on Friday of The Honorable Elder Thelma Chalifoux, former Senator and first Indigenous woman appointed to the Senate:
Niwakomacuntik Tansai Ne me ay tane A wa pam ti kok.
The Honorable Thelma Chalifoux pun, a Metis from Alberta and first Indigenous woman in the Canadian Senate, died in St. Albert on Friday September 22. She was 88 years old.
“It was a very touching, private moment as we watched our dear mother, grandmother and matriarch go back to her heavenly home,” her eldest son Robert Coulter is reported to have said.
Chalifoux was active in helping to get facilities and programs like Friendship Centers up and running for Indigenous Canadians. She was also interested in language, housing, education, suicide prevention, incarceration, domestic abuse, cross-cultural training in government departments and alcoholism. She was especially important in getting the Cree language taught in northern schools.
Recently, she helped start the Michif Cultural Institute, a museum and resource centre in St. Albert aimed at preserving and promoting regional Metis culture.
She was a trailblazer, a hero, kayapakici ahkameyimo, Marci akwa khitwam Kokum, Thelma Chalifoux pun.