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First Woman Chief Elected At Moose Woods

Ruth Ahenakew

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY 1980      v10 n2-3 p07  
Elizabeth Royal was elected Chief of Moose Woods Reserve November 29th, 1979.

The Band, predominantly Sioux, is comprised of the descendants of Chief Sitting Bull and his Band. They settled in the area, some 18 miles south of Saskatoon, after coming to Canada from the United States in the late 1800's.

This was the first election for the Band in almost 20 years, as they had been operating under Band Custom. The election was precipitated by the death of their lifetime leader, William Eagle. Prior to this election, their Band leader was referred to as an `overseer'.

Elected councillors were Wallace Eagle, and William Eagle.

Ms. Royal is single, and resides on the reserve. She took her elementary education at the day school on the reserve, and entered the Brunskill School in Saskatoon to complete her grade eight. She then moved to Moose Jaw to complete her grade 11, and graduated from Walter Murray Collegiate (in Saskatoon) in 1971. On completion of her high school, she entered Business College in Saskatoon.

Ms. Royal has worked at Indian Affairs as a summer student and receptionist, leaving Indian Affairs; she entered employment with the Institute of Indian and Northern Education at the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon for one and one-half years. She transferred studies, and was there for four years. Beth is currently on leave of absence from her position with the Indian Teacher Education Program, where she has worked for four years.

She says: "I enjoy the challenge of being a Chief, and find it very different from being a secretary". One of the priorities she has set for her Band is to try to provide better housing for her people. She says, "Recreation for young adults is another area we really need to work on.

Currently, the Band does not administer its own programs, but Chief Royal is planning to change that.

Chief Elizabeth Royal is the fourth woman in Saskatchewan to be elected as Chief of a Band. She encourages other women to become involved and active in Band politics. She says: "Women have a lot to offer, and it is a good experience. They must meet the Challenge".

The population of Moose Woods is approximately 176.