The face of Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier from Okanese First Nation will quickly journey throughout Canada and the world by way of letters and packages.
On Wednesday Canada Put up unveiled a stamp emblazoned along with her picture — the third and ultimate stamp in a brand new set that includes Indigenous leaders.
The retired chief stated she felt honoured, calling it a “very important day.”
Nevertheless, Day Walker-Pelletier wasn’t fairly certain but learn how to really feel about her face being despatched across the globe with the assistance of the brand new stamp, she stated.
“I assume it is type of Canada Put up recognizing myself as a First Nations lady and chief, so I will go along with it,” stated Day Walker-Pelletier.
“Hopefully the stamp will encourage our younger folks, our kids, our youth.”
The previous chief of Okanese First Nation needed to wait two years to share the knowledge that she could be on a stamp, she stated. She recalled the second Canada Put up first knowledgeable her.
“‘Are you kidding,’ I stated. ‘I do not need anyone licking me,” Day Walker-Pelletier stated, recounting her cellphone name with Canada Put up’s officer of stamp companies Leslie Jones.
“Then she stated, ‘Oh no,they use glue now.'”
She by no means places herself first, says Saskatchewan’s lieutenant-governor
Day Walker-Pelletier, Harry Daniels and Jose Kusugak are the three Indigenous leaders chosen to be featured on the brand new set of stamps, which can turn into accessible on June 21 — Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day.
The stamps are paying tribute to the achievements, dedication and contributions of the three leaders to the Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities they served, stated Canada Put up in a information launch.
Canada Put up says the brand new set is the inaugural launch in a multi-year Indigenous leaders stamp collection.
The revealing occasion for Day Walker-Pelletier was the final the three and happened in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.
“She believes strongly in household and taking care of kids, and that is the place her work continues to this present day,” stated Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty throughout Wednesday’s occasion.
“It has been stated that Chief Marie-Anne by no means places herself first. She has devoted her life to the Okanese First Nation and by extension all of us which have a stake in our communities and in our futures.”
Day Walker-Pelletier, Canada’s longest serving chief, held the elected place in Okanese, situated roughly 90 kilometres east of Regina, for nearly 40 years.
First elected within the early Eighties when she was 26-years-old, she beforehand instructed CBC Information she initially hoped to serve her neighborhood for 4 years. She retired in the summertime of 2020.
She was additionally chair of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, now the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, in 2005.
Day Walker-Pelletier is well-known as an advocate for ladies and youngsters’s points. She helped the Okanese First Nation write its personal laws concerning baby and household companies.
Earlier this yr she was a part of the Indigenous delegation from Canada that met Pope Francis on the Vatican, presenting Pope Francis with child moccasins in return for a promise for him to return them to the steps of a residential faculty in her area.
Day Walker-Pelletier, a residential faculty survivor, has been honoured a number of occasions all through her life.
She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2018 and a member of the Saskatchewan Order of Advantage in 2021, the best awards that folks can get within the nation and province, stated Mirasty.
However Day Walker-Pelletier stated her best accomplishment is her household.
“I usually marvel why all people desires to fuss about me as a result of I am simply human, I am only a mom, a grandmother and a great-grandmother,” she stated.
“It is not about materials issues. It is about households going ahead. And I wish to say each baby issues.”
‘We may be pen buddies eternally,’ says Day Walker-Pelletier
Whereas chief positions weren’t usually crammed by ladies when she began, Day Walker-Pelletier stated First Nations ladies at the moment are and would be the leaders of the longer term.
“She is an actual, if not one of the best instance of how one particular person could make a significant distinction within the lives of others,” stated Mirasty.
“She exemplifies that all of us, in our personal manner, can contribute.”
The present chief of Okanese First Nation, Richard Stonechild, known as his predecessor an incredible position mannequin. He stated she has introduced a a lot wanted stability of a girl’s perspective to the management circles.
“For 17 years I listened, I realized, took discover and took route and received heck,” stated Stonechild.
“However all the time there was her kindness. Her tireless dedication to the neighborhood and her absolute love for the Okanese household, particularly the kids.”
After Harry Daniels, Day Walker-Pelletier is now the second Indigenous particular person in Saskatchewan to be honoured with a stamp this yr by Canada Put up.
Daniels was a Métis man from Saskatchewan, well-known for his authorized battle, Daniels v. Canada, which might result in the popularity of Métis and non-status First Nations folks as “Indians” as per Canada’s structure in 2016.
Jose Kusugak, an Inuk politician from Repulse Bay, Nunavut, was the centre of a stamp unveiling on Tuesday night in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
Whereas each Daniels and Kusugak have died, Day Walker-Pelletier was completely happy to have the ability to witness the discharge of her stamp.
“I encourage everybody to purchase a stamp,” she stated. “Please ship me a letter. We may be pen buddies eternally.”