Alphonsine Lafond
Alpha LafondAlphonsine (Alpha) Lafond is a Treaty 6 Cree and was born on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation on March 7, 1926. She is the daughter of Bernard Venne and Georgina Greyeyes. She was raised at Muskeg Lake and lives there today. Alphonsine attended St. Micheal's Indian Residential School in Duck Lake from 1933 to 1942 where she made many life-long friendships. Alphonsine married Albert Lafond in 1953, they were blessed with 6 children. She is also raising her grandaughter Kalia Marie Lafond.

Alphonsine remembers as a young child of 10, travelling to Fort Carleton by wagon with her parents, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Treaty 6. She was raised with strong values such as respect, honesty, discipline and kindness. The combination of her family and residential school developed a strong character and dedication to work for her people.

She has dedicated her life to service of over 28 years in her community, and to First Nations of Saskatchewan at the tribal council and FSIN levels. She has been a prominent leader in First Nations circles in Saskatchewan since 1958 when she was elected to council.

In 1960 she was elected as the first Indian woman Chief in the Province. She was also the Tribal Representative for the Shellbrook Agency. Her involvement in the community is a continuation of a long family tradition.

She is a fluent Cree speaker and has often served as an interpreter. She was appointed the first Indian woman justice of the peace in 1975. She was especially involved in education and sports and recreation in her community.

Alphonsine was honoured as Mother of the Year in 1986 by the Saskatchewan Indian Woman's Association. She was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1988. She was the recipient of the Order of Canada Award in 1992.

Alphonsine has been a Senator in the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations since 1992 and is presently Vice-Chair of the FSIN Senate.

Aphonsine's traditional yet pragmatic views about First Nations politics are heard often at the Senate and on the Boards and Commissions on which she serves. She believes that "We must never allow governments to interpret our sacred treaties, but must rely on the Elders oral history and their interpretations".

To the young people, Alphonsine's message is a clear and consistant one, "Stay in school and pursue a career. Have faith and trust in God the Creator to help you overcome all the trials and tribulations as you go along in life's journey."

Alphonsine's personality and contribution are best summed up by her very dear friend, the late Jean Goodwill: "Alphonsine played a major leadership role in the Indian community without fanfare. She never put herself on a pedestal but accomplished more by being an example and raising a good family and giving all she could for her people."

Alphonsine (Alpha) Lafond passed away on Thursday, August 17, 2000.

Links: (click on X in top right corner of outside link to return to photo gallery)

Women Taking On Larger Role In Politics - Saskatchewan Indian Summer 1998 - v28 n02 p13

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation - Alphonsine (Alpha) Lafond was the first female chief of Muskeg Lake Reserve

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