OJIBWE ELSIE KNOTT DIED–FIRST WOMAN ELECTED AS FIRST NATION CHIEF
Born September 20, 1922, on Mud Lake Reserve, Ontario (ON), now Curve Lake First Nation (CLFN), Elsie’s schooling ended at grade 8. At 15, her parents arranged her marriage. In 1951, the Indian Act was amended allowing Indigenous women to vote & serve in tribal government. In 1954, Knott ran for & was elected the 1st female First Nation (FN) chief. Serving 7 terms (1954-62 & 1970-76), she secured federal funds for housing, wells, roads, a community centre & a senior citizens’ home. Elsie started an Ojibwe language program at FN school and banned the sale & consumption of alcohol on the reserve. In the 1960s, she created Knott Bus Service & drove a school bus for 31 years. Knott revived the powwow & helped host an indigenous hockey tournament. A Union of ON Indians (UOI) Elder & National Indian Brotherhood Director, she was named 1 of 25 outstanding ON women in 1975. Anishinabek Nation’s Celebration of Women (1998) honored her. Elsie also received UOI’s Life Achievement Award (1999).
Sources: Julia Skelly, “Elsie Knott,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 10/17/2018. Retrieved 9/6/2020, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/elsie-knott “Elsie Knott (1922-1995), Status of Women Canada. Retrieved 9/6/2020, https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/commemoration/woi-fic/elsie-knott-en.html Photo: “Elsie Knott (1922-1995), Status of Women Canada. Permissive Use. Source: https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/commemoration/woi-fic/elsie-knott-en.html.