Senior Student Zone: Biographies
Many and more Aboriginal notables are represented on the Canadian Aboriginal Newspaper site at
http://www.ammsa.com/windspeaker/index.htm. Choose the link “People of Honour.”
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Susan was born in Churchill, Manitoba and for the first 12 years of her life spent considerable time moving around the Northwest Territories. Her family eventually settled in Arviat, NWT, on the shore of Hudson’s Bay. Her music combines Inuktitut and English language with pop music in order to tell stories about Inuit Arctic Canada. She has won a number of Juno Awards, and was the first entertainer to receive the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. She has also performed for Queen Elizabeth II on two occasions and is the official spokesperson for the National Alcohol and Drug Prevention Program.
Tantoo was born in Fort McMurray, AB in the 1950’s. She is a Cree television and film actor that has appeared in
Dances with Wolves, Legends of the fall, and the popular Canadian show
North of 60. In 1991, Maclean’s magazine named her Actress of the Year.
Angela Chalmers is a track and field star. Her first major national competition was in 1981 at the Canada Summer Games in Thunder Bay where she won two silver medals in the 800 metre and 1,500 metre events. That led to a spot on the 1988 Canadian Olympic team. At the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, she became the first woman in the history to win both the 1,500 metres and 3,000 metre races. Four years later, the 30 year old Chalmers successfully defended her 3,000 metre crown in dramatic fashion at the Victoria Commonwealth Games breaking both the Canadian and Commonwealth records.
Matthew Coon Comb
Matthew was born in a trapper hut near Mistissini, Quebec. He attended residential school, which took him far from home for long periods. He eventually studied at both Trent and McGill Universities, but once his studies were completed, he returned home where he spent two years living in the bush learning the traditional ways of the Cree people. He was Chief of Mistissini from 1981 to 1986 and became Grand Chief of the Northern Quebec Cree from 1987 to 2000. Also the former National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, he has many interests including acting, his work as an active lobbyist, and as a board member of seven major Cree businesses. He was awarded the Equinox Environmental Award and the National Aboriginal
Achievement Award for his work in protecting the environment, and still
spends time on his family’s traditional trap line each year.
No one knows exactly where Crowfoot was born or his exact age upon his death in 1890.
Crowfoot was believed to have had 10 wives during his lifetime, one of which was the sister of Kainai (Blood) Chief Red Crow.
This union made for close ties between the two groups. He had a reputation for courage and success in battle and was known as the “Chief
of Chiefs” for his wisdom and oratory finesse. Crowfoot also had the unique habit of carrying an umbrella with him as he travelled across
the prairies. Concerned for the well-being of his people, Crowfoot agreed to the development of the North West Mounted Police (later the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police), who hoped to end whiskey trading and enforce the law. He was also a leader in the signing of Treaty 7 at the Blackfoot
Crossing on the Bow River. In 1877, Crowfoot and Sitting Bull (Sioux Chief) smoked a peace pipe and agreed to share hunting territory. Crowfoot
did not support the Riel Rebellion in 1885, choosing instead to honour his ties to the Queen and the Treaty in hopes of peace. Crowfoot sent a
telegraph to the Prime Minister informing him of his decision and loyalty to the Queen. In return, he received a lifetime pass for the Canadian
Pacific Railway and $50.