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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was communities.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River (Saskatchewan)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Indigenous Affairs January 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in northern Saskatchewan, more and more people are becoming homeless or live in houses that are overcrowded or infested with mould. In Hatchet Lake, as many as 20 people are sharing a single home that is unsafe to live in. Instead of taking this crisis seriously, the Liberals only say that more work needs to be done. Northern families cannot wait any longer for the Prime Minister to act. Does he have a plan to address the northern housing crisis, yes or no?

Indigenous Affairs December 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself for saying that.

With the closure of STC in Saskatchewan, people with disabilities in northern Saskatchewan are being left in the dark by the Liberals. People like Gary Tinker from Pinehouse, Saskatchewan are forced to hitchhike across the province to get to appointments, to see their families or just to live a normal life.

People with disabilities cannot wait until after the election. What are the Liberals waiting for to help northerners like Gary and to restore the bus service?

Youth Wellness Conference December 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to highlight the youth from Canoe Lake Miksiw School and their efforts to build a better community.

For the 12th year in a row, the youth from Canoe Lake have organized and hosted the annual Youth Wellness Conference, a multi-day gathering of students and young people from across northern Saskatchewan to discuss issues that matter to them, issues like building positive relationships, mindfulness, suicide prevention and ceremonial protocols among many other things.

When the youth speak, we should be listening. If the youth ask for help, we must provide it. If they ask for support, we must offer it. If they ask for resources, we should provide them.

I congratulate these young people on a job well done. I call on all members of the House to become more involved in the lives of the young people in their communities.

Committees of the House November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, what I would like to do at this time is make a comment and ask a question in English and then translate it into Dene so my constituents who speak Dene can hear what I am saying.

The comments I heard just now from the Conservative Party are the strength of colonialism and the strength of dismissing and destroying indigenous languages. The Conservatives promote that. As an indigenous Dene-speaking woman, my ancestors were born here first, where my homeland is. The Conservatives want me to dismiss that, because they want me to cater to them. For all of the youth and elders who have come before me and who will come after me, today is a most significant day toward moving forward. However, there is one remaining party that wishes to promote colonialism and that breaks my heart.

Having said that, as a Dene woman who was born in northern Saskatchewan, and who grew up on the trapline, I spoke Dene as a first language, and we are still promoting that. I have a constitutional right to speak in Dene, because my ancestors were here first.

[Member spoke in Dene]

[English]

I ask the member this. Why is she against the arguments surrounding our ability to speak Dene, Cree or other indigenous languages? Why are the Conservatives denying our rights?

Committees of the House November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely fascinated by languages and hear Dene speak in their languages. When we speak our languages, we have a good sense of humour and we laugh a lot. When we speak English, we have a tendency to be a little more serious, because we are worried about making a mistake. I am so concerned about the way I speak English, but I am comfortable when I speak in Dene.

[Member spoke in Dene]

[English]

What we do is we look at translating how to soften the tone so we can engage and have a little humour attached to it so everybody can feel comfortable in communicating with one another.

When I was in Saskatoon, I heard from Cree-speaking Nakota, Dene and the other two languages in Saskatchewan. It was fascinating to hear young people speaking in Cree, Nakota and their languages. They are able to communicate in their first language.

Therefore, I am very fascinated by languages, the way we translate, how to make that happen and how we can grow more in Canada.

Committees of the House November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, when I started, I was able to deliver my version of my presentation in English. Then I delivered a version of my presentation in Dene. Unfortunately, the translation in Dene is not word for word. If I went word for word, it would be really confusing even for me to try to communicate.

I have the ability to think in Dene and the ability to think in English. I tried to look at the issue where the translators would be able to translate today. However, from this day forward, we can make that request and translators will be made available. Then the member will be able to hear that.

Committees of the House November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Dene]

[English]

Today is a big day for indigenous languages in the House of Commons. I am going to be splitting my comments in half today. First I will be speaking in English for the benefit of my colleagues, and afterward I will be making comments in my first language, Dene, which I will soon be able to speak more freely in this chambers.

I am very happy with the findings of the the procedure and House affairs committee report on the use of Indigenous languages in the House. I would like to give a special thanks to the members of the procedure and House affairs committee for their hard work and commitment. Adopting Indigenous languages into House business is no easy task, but because of the members, we are now one step closer to equal recognition.

[Member spoke in Dene]

[English]

As I have said many times, I am a Dene woman, and I grew up on a trap line in northern Saskatchewan. The large majority of people in my riding are Dene or Cree, first nation and Métis, and many people speak more than one language. The diversity of languages across the riding is awesome, yet challenging.

I recently had the privilege of attending the First Nations' Language Keepers Conference in Saskatoon, hosted by the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre.

At the conference, I heard from educators like Julia Oullette, who teaches Cree to youth, using physical actions to get the kids moving around while they are learning. I heard from entertainers like Brian Waskewitch, who uses puppets to engage with small kids in Plains Cree, using language they will understand.

I also heard from the youth directly. Davis Horse from Thunderchild First Nation lives in a Cree-only household and encourages a traditional lifestyle for youth across Saskatchewan. I also met with Cameron Lozinski who is developing a smart phone app with his elders to help more young people access his language.

If I have one takeaway from my experience at this conference, it is that we must provide leadership and act as role models for young indigenous youth who want to speak their languages. First nations, Métis and Inuit languages are thriving across Canada, contrary to popular belief.

I am glad to see that the committee's report agrees that the House should build our capacity to speak our languages. Communicating with our constituents in the languages they speak is so important. Adopting this report may seem small, but it will have a significant impact in our communities, in our schools and in our homes.

We will be better able to speak about the issues that matter to them, like education, access to health care and northern infrastructure. An informed democracy is a strong democracy and adopting this report is a step in the right direction.

At this time, I am switching to my first language.

[Member spoke in Dene]

[English]

I just delivered a similar presentation in Dene.

At this time, for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, we have this opportunity to acknowledge the indigenous languages across Canada, in the place of the federal government and in the House of Commons. We are able to speak in our languages and showcase our first language, which in my case is Dene. In my riding, I have Cree, three dialects, the Métis, the Michif, and other indigenous languages. It is a very significant step in the right direction. We are building bridges and reconciliation is beginning to occur.

Therefore, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all my friends on the committee, all members of Parliament and the government officials who helped make this happen.

You, too, Mr. Speaker, helped make it happen, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

[Member spoke in Dene]

Committees of the House November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Dene]

I am curious. Today is a really remarkable day in moving forward, as we are building bridges and moving in the right direction. I understand that my colleague started off his speech with his language, and then stopped and delivered the rest of his speech in English. Can he explain why?

Indigenous Affairs November 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, one year ago the Prime Minister said everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Northern communities do not believe it because most of them still do not have year-round highway access, and people still live in overcrowded homes that are falling apart or full of mould.

The Liberals keep neglecting northerners. Why do they not invest the billions needed now to close the housing gap on reserves and in northern communities?

Indigenous Affairs November 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have been dragging their feet to finish the Wollaston Lake road project. For 30 years, the Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation has been fighting to get this all-season road done to make its community accessible. Without it, it has to fly in its already overpriced food and supplies. Northerners deserve answers.

Why are the Liberals ignoring Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation and refusing to complete the Wollaston Lake road project once and for all?