THELMA CHALIFOUX BECOMES FIRST INDIGENOUS WOMAN APPOINTED TO CANADIAN SENATE
Born in Calgary, Alberta, February 8, 1929, Thelma studied at Lethbridge Community College and at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology while a single mother of 7. Chalifoux co-founded the Slave Lake Friendship Centre for women and fought to have Cree taught in northern schools. Both through her radio show, Smoke Signals from the Peace, and by co-producing the series, Our Native Heritage, she furthered Métis culture. Thelma also ran a consulting firm and a craft business. In 1997, Chalifoux became the 1st Indigenous woman appointed to the Senate–a post she held until 2004. In 2005, she ranked 8th on Alberta Venture magazine’s list of 50 Greatest Albertans. Thelma also founded the Michif Cultural Connections Company to preserve the Métis history of Alberta. Awards include: National Aboriginal Achievement Award (Indspire Award) in 1994 (the 1st woman) and Métis National Council Lifetime Achievement Award. Thelma died in St. Albert, Alberta, on September 22, 2017.
Sources: Phil Heidenreich, "Thelma Chalifoux, Canada's first Indigenous woman to be appointed to Senate, dies at 88". Global News, 9/24/2017. Retrieved 8/16/2020, https://globalnews.ca/news/3766267/thelma-chalifoux-canadas-first-indigenous-woman-to-be-appointed-to-senate-dies-at-88/ Susan Jones, "Chalifoux remembered as Métis advocate," St. Albert Gazette, 9/27/2017. Retrieved 8/16/2020, https://www.stalberttoday.ca/local-news/2709-obit-chailifoux-sj-1296643 Wikipedia Photo: Andrijko Z., 10/9/2012. Canadian Senate, Ottawa. Permissive Use.