Mr. Speaker, a person of note in my constituency is Dr. Mary Thomas, a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and an elder of the Neskolith Band.
Dr. Thomas began her career as a First Nations Ambassador in 1970, when she founded the Central Okanagan Interior Friendship Society. Since that time, Dr. Mary Thomas has devoted her life to the preservation and teaching of her culture and language.
Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards over the years, including two honorary doctorates from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Victoria. She received the B.C. Museums Association Distinguished Person Award in 1989 and the Governor General's Award in 1992.
Dr. Thomas was the first native American to receive the Indigenous Conservationist of the Year Award from the Seacology Foundation. Dr. Thomas was awarded the Aboriginal Achievement Award of Canada.
At 87 years of age, Dr. Mary Thomas is actively forwarding her dream to build a Shuswap cultural centre that will contain much of her life work.
Dr. Mary Thomas is an inspiration to her people and a great Canadian.