EDMONTON, AB, April 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Three Métis women are among many amazing Canadians who will receive the highly prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during the next year. Métis Lawyers Ms. Jean Teillet and Ms. Kathy Hodgson-Smith and Ms. Shirley Isbister, an advocate for Métis Children and Families involved in child welfare, were presented the awards at a ceremony hosted by the Women of the Métis Nation general assembly in Edmonton on March 30th, 2012.
President Omeniho was joined by Métis National Council President Clément Chartier and Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras in bestowing the honour. WMN President Melanie Omeniho says, "It was truly an honour for me, as President of the Women to the Métis Nation, to have the pleasure of presenting the medals to each of these tremendous ladies."
"I can't tell you how proud I am of each of these women, especially because I know they exemplify the strength, leadership and determination of so many of our women across the Métis Nation," says President Omeniho.
The Diamond Jubilee medal marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne and will be presented to 60,000 distinguished Canadians. Ms. Teillet, Ms. Hodgson-Smith and Ms. Isbister will be among a total of 30 Métis Nation citizens who will receive a medal during 2012.
JEAN TEILLET is a partner in the firm of Pape Salter Teillet and specializes in Aboriginal rights litigation and negotiations, with a particular emphasis on Métis rights. Since 1993, she has been a tutor and mentor to Aboriginal university students, is a founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, founding president of the Métis Nation Lawyers Association and former treasurer and vice-president of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada. Ms.Teillet was instrumental in leading the historic Powley case in 2003 to the Supreme Court where she successfully defended Métis hunters Steve and Roddy Powley. As a Métis rights lawyer she received a unanimous judgment on behalf of the Métis Nation which said that the Powleys, as members of the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community, can exercise their Métis rights to hunt that is protected by section 35 of the Constitution of Canada. That ruling has lead to many more successful challenges across the historic Métis Nation homeland.
Ms. Teillet has freely devoted her time and efforts to the Aboriginal community. The 2005 Aboriginal Justice Award was presented to Ms.Teillet by the Aboriginal Law Students' Association, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta "In Recognition of Service to the Aboriginal Community" and for her "Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Aboriginal Justice". Ms. Teillet is the great-grandniece of Louis Riel.
KATHY HODGSON-SMITH is a Saskatoon lawyer who practices criminal and Aboriginal law under the firm name Hodgson-Smith Law. She has worked on various national policy initiatives for the Métis National Council (MNC) in Ottawa including the AHRDA Strategy, Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtables, the Kelowna Accord and Post-Powley. She represents the MNC at the United Nations WIPO Committee on the Protection of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources, and on the Working Groups under the Convention on Biological Diversity. She currently testified at the Aboriginal Affairs Standing Committee on the effects of McIvor decision on the Métis. She served as Chairperson of the MNC National Research Strategy Committee, Urban Aboriginal Strategy, and as a Community Representative on the SSHRC Otipimsuak Project. She has researched and presented on Métis traditional knowledge at international, national, provincial and local forums. She earned a Masters in Education in 1997 and has researched, published and lectured in the area of Aboriginal pedagogy. She has conducted research for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Canadian Education Association and the Canada Council on Learning.
Ms. Hodgson-Smith has been involved in developing the policy papers, and position papers on the Cunningham case which also went to the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been instrumental in explaining the impacts of the case and others like it, R v. Hirsekorn in Alberta. Also, Ms. Hodgson-Smith has helped to raise awareness across the Métis Nation about the impact of C-3 (Indian Status) on the Métis peoples. Kathy Hodgson-Smith, originally from MacDowall, SK., has raised two sons, and now celebrates their relationships and her two beautiful granddaughters.
SHIRLEY ISBISTER was born and raised in Saskatoon. She is the proud mother of three children and the pride and joy of her life are her three grandchildren. Shirley is a Family Daycare provider, Marriage Commissionaire, a Notary Public and Commissionaire of Oaths. She is the President of Central Urban Métis Federation Incorporated (CUMFI) an organization that strives for improved social and economic conditions for Métis, works towards self-determination and self-reliance and aims to improve the quality and standards of life for Métis. A strong advocate for our children, Ms. Isbister was instrumental in the establishment of the 'Bringing Home the Children' National Committee to address the issues of Métis children caught in the child welfare system. Ms. Isbister was named the chair of this extremely important committee and today, is a prime example of dedication, leadership and compassion. Shirley exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism through her dedication, leadership skills and her level of commitment to the many projects she undertakes. Her vision is to build a strong Métis community that enriches the lives of children, youth, Elders and all Métis people.
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