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It's all about Mom

Dene women's achievements recorded in new booklet

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (May 16/03) - Elizabeth Hardisty was named the NWT's Indian Princess in 1967.

That's a fact that some people may not know, but those present at the Mother's Day tea on Sunday found out.

Hardisty's biography was read aloud from a new booklet produced by the Liidlii Kue First Nation (LKFN).

The publication, entitled Honouring Our Mothers and Grandmothers, features 19 Dene women. Rosemary Gill and Lorayne Menicoche-Moses, both LKFN employees, came up with the idea.

"Hopefully it will give you an idea of what our Dene mothers and grandmothers have achieved," Gill told those in attendance at Stanley Isaiah Supportive Living Home on Sunday.

"You see elders walking down the street and you really don't know their stories... most people don't realize what they have lived through, so we thought we'd showcase them."

After having her biography read for everyone to hear, a modest Hardisty joked that she wanted to crawl under the table. But she said she was delighted to be included in the booklet.

"It's a good accomplishment," she said. "It's the first time they've ever done anything like that."

Jessie Snider is another of the women whose story is told in the publication.

She was equally pleased to be a part of the project.

"I'm proud of it. It's good. I like it," said Snider, whom the booklet reveals was born at Willow River and advises young women to have a good education, a place to live and a steady income before raising children of their own.

Mary Louise Norwegian, according to pages devoted to her, built her own log home, raised 12 children and loves to make trips to the Horn Plateau.

Norwegian said she feels good about her place in the publication but she's also happy that her mother, Elizabeth Norwegian, is featured as well. Elizabeth told stories so vividly and fluidly that it was just like watching television, Mary Louise recalled.

Pauline Deneyoua and Merle Snider interviewed some of the subjects for the booklet.

Other biographies were submitted by community members.

Gill said stories will continue to be collected over the coming year. Next year, it's hoped that a more comprehensive book will be printed, she added.