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Elsie Knott
First Woman Chief in Canada

Elsie Knott

Elsie Knott
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro First Woman Chief in Canada
Was Film director
From Canada
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 20 September 1922, Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario, Canada
Death 3 December 1995 (aged 73 years)
Star sign Virgo
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Elsie Marie Knott (née Taylor; September 20, 1922 – December 3, 1995) was the first woman in Canada to be elected as Chief of a First Nation. Knott became Chief of the Curve Lake First Nation in 1954, three years after the Indian Act was amended to give First Nations women the right to vote and hold positions in band governments.

With Elsie, the difficult was easy, the impossible took a little longer.

— Father Paul Heffernan, Eulogy for Elsie Knott (as quoted in Voyageur 2008)

Career

At the age of 33, Elsie Knott became Chief of the Curve Lake First Nation, known at the time as the Mississaugas of Mud Lake, which is a Mississauga Ojibway First Nation near Peterborough, Ontario. Elections of other female First Nation chiefs and councilors followed across Canada. By 1960, 21 women held elected band council positions, but elected First Nation female leadership was not widely embraced until the late 1990s–early 2000s. Knott herself went on to win eight consecutive elections and served as chief for sixteen years.

She was known for her work relating to preserving the Ojibwe language, which included founding a language program at the Curve Lake First Nation School. As an elder, Knott also helped revive the community's powwow celebrations. At the time of her death, Curve Lake First Nation Chief Keith Knott (not a direct relation) gave Knott's role in developing the reserve's school bus service as a prime example of her leadership and dedication to the community,

She started off with a car of her own, driving a couple of students to school at Lakefield. But as more and more children wanted to go to high school, she bought a hearse and converted it to a school bus.

She later arranged, through the Indian Affairs Department, the purchase of two conventional school buses, which she drove for 25 years.

Awards

  • Outstanding Women Award (1992)
  • Her memory was honoured as part of the Anishinabek Nation's Celebration of Women Conference (1998)
  • Life Achievement award, Union of Ontario Indians (1999)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 21 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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