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The new Elder statespeople are Simon Robillard of the Black Lake Indian Band and Alpha LaFond of the Muskeg Lake Indian Band. Each will serve the FSIN on an advisory level and partake in the socio-economic and political development of his and her community.
Born in 1928 in the Walda Lake Territories, Simon Robillard has made Black Lake Indian Reserve his home from "day two", said Band Manager John Thorassie. Simon, who is described as being energetic and outspoken, has been an vital businessman for a number of years operating his pool hall in the Black Lake Community.
He was also a Band Councillor for three terms and is respected by all in his home community for his tireless committment to band activities.
When asked what events led up to Simon's appointment to the Senate, John Thorassie remarked that Simon was simply "the best candidate". Yet, despite his extensive business and community involvement, Simon still finds time to enjoy the challenges of hunting and trapping. Presently, Simon continues to reside in Black Lake with his wife Teresa and keeps close contact with his eleven children.
Right: FSIN Senators
Simon Robillard and Alpha Lafond.
Yet despite the hardships, Lafond, who was educated at St Michael's Residential School in Duck Lake, stayed commited to protecting the rights of "her children, the band children and the children not born." said Lafond in a phone interview.
The Mother of five and Grandmother of seven, is a strong advocate of education.
During her twenty year run as Band Councillor, from 1972, she held the education portfolio and did her best to ensure that all were provided with the best education her community could offer.
Earlier this year, Lafond retired from her position as Band Councillor, due to illness, but her status as an Elder allows her to continue her involvement in the Band and with the Muskeg Lake School Authority. For Lafond, the Senate appointment is viewed as a "challenge" and she hopes that after the FSIN meeting in June, her future role as Senator will become more clear.
Each are congratulated on achieving the Senate Appointment.