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Saskatchewan Indian Womens' Association

Isabel McNab, President, Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association

After the Annual Women's Conference which was held in Prince Albert, June 1971, a steering committee was elected to plan the structure for the new organization. The women elected in the steering committee was to represent the women of the Province of Saskatchewan. It consisted of a President - Irene Tootoosis of Cutknife; Vice-President - Joyce Quewezance of Kamsack; Secretary was Dorothy Sparvier of Broadview. Treasurer was Laura Johnston of Leask. They were elected and also had to act as the Executive. Mrs. Jean Goodwill was asked to be the Program Coordinator and commenced working for the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association November 15, 1971.

The steering committee also had 10 members, two for each of the five regions in the province. The five regions were: Meadow Lake-North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Fort Qu'Appelle.

The Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association were without funds and so they had to find funds in order to do some very worthwhile work for the Indian women. They applied for a grant from Manpower under the Local Initiative Program. They received the grant and immediately hired the women and went to work. Before the project ended, they hired eight more women. The project ended on May 31,1972, but they were granted an extension to September 31, 1972.

In July the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association held an Annual Conference at Gordon Student Residence. At this time they elected a new Executive and the women consist of: President - Isabelle McNab, Vice-president - Lizette Ahenakew, Treasurer is Olive McArthur and Secretary is Caroline Standingready. The Program Coordinator is Isabelle McNab.

The Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association has been very busy working in the five regions. The workers send in their weekly activity reports along with their travelling expense forms. The workers are now realizing how important their work is on the reserves and are writing to me, asking if anything can be done for travelling expenses so that they may travel more on the reserves. However, they are still hung up for the lack of sufficient funds, but they are still doing a fine job.

The area coordinators work in all aspects of family life. The Manpower program has improved tremendously. The workers in the reserve committees a great step towards better living conditions in the homes. Family life been also taking a different shape towards a better way of living.

Most of our workers have been working hard towards the biggest problem on our reserves, "alcohol". They have been asked to bring into the reserves resource people from Alcoholic Anonymous Program, because they have been counselling people with an alcoholic problem and are seeking for help.

Homemaking courses have been taking place, some of the area coordinators are sewing, cooking and knitting instructors. They have been, going into different reserves to teach these to the Indian women.

It has been a successful year and now the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association are asking the Medical Services for funds for a "Health Education Program" for the workers. The Executive of the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association have been meeting with the Medical Services to set up another proposal. We have already had to re-draft our proposal twice. At the present we are waiting to hear from Ottawa as to what is going to take place. We hope that we will get the funds for our program so that we can start on something new for the betterment of the Indian women on the reserves. In the meanwhile, the Local Initiative Program has offered to give us an extension for the month of October 1972 and to apply for funds to further our program at the end of November 1972.

Isabelle McNab
Isabelle McNab, the newly elected president of the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association.
Gladys Johnstone, Mrs. Roberts
Gladys Johnstone receiving the "Mother-of-the-year" Award for 1972 from the former Mother-of-the-year Mrs. Roberts.