|Previous Article||Next Article||FNPI Search||Home||Previous Year||Next Year||Year List|
Francis, a Saulteaux Indian, said in an interview that the proprietor told her he had never served "people like you" in his 11 years at the store.
She told the owner that her race had been in Canada for more than 1,000 years and "we've had to learn to serve to survive."
Francis, a mother of eight, grandmother of 33, and great grandmother of five, was awarded the Order for her cultural native work in British Columbia and the Prairies.
She grew up on the Waywayseecappo Reserve near Russell, Manitoba and her early married life was spent on a reserve just outside of Broadview, Sask.
"We had no rights, we couldn't do anything without a government permit-sell our cattle, buy farm equipment, go after more education for our children-so we struck out on our own," she said.
"We packed all our pots and pans, our bedding and clothes and the youngsters into a half-ton and moved to Regina. But nobody would rent a house to Indians with so many kids so we ended up pitching a tent on the outskirts of town.
She founded the first Friendship Centre there and later worked in Winnipeg as an arts and crafts manager and as a family counsellor.
Francis said native people don't have the chance to grow up and mature on reserves, and as wards of the government they don't learn to be independent.
She said she tells her young Indian friends to keep their identity and not be talked into trying to turn white overnight.