Born in Fort Fitzgerald in 1917, Elsie is a very well-respected Elder within the Métiscommunities of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She has worked her entire95 years to help others and be a positive role model in the north.Elsie Yanik is respected throughout the region for her advocacy and contributions to awide range of enhancement initiatives, from improving health, education and recreationalservices to sharing and preserving Aboriginal heritage, culture and crafting. Elsie's spiritand unwavering support has been a pillar to the students in Aboriginal Education atKeyano College. She has been a mentor in a support group for students since 1997. Shealso lends her support to the Aboriginal programs and has often been called upon to blessspecial ceremonies and functions such as Aboriginal Days, Arctic Winter Games 2004and many others. She was a “Stars of Alberta” recipient in 2006.Mrs. Yanik is a cherished Elder in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalocommunity. Elsie was the first woman to be appointed as Spiritual Director of NorthernAlberta/NWT. She was recognized for Lifetime Achievement with the Governor General's Commemorative Medal on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Confederation. She also received the St. Joseph Catholic Church Extension SocietyAward, given annually to only one person in Canada for contributions to church andcommunity.Elsie was raised by the Grey Nuns and, after her schooling, took over as the lay person inthe church. Eventually, she moved to Fort Smith where she worked among the sick,aiding those with consumption and other illnesses.
The first nominee in the new Women of Inspiration series, Elsie Yanik is pictured here at the2010 Olympic torch ceremony in Fort McMurray
Elsie is also known for her volunteer work. She is the President for the Voice of Alberta Native Women (now the ESQUOU organization), a 10-year member of the YoungOffenders Board, and provides recommendations for community health on the NuneeHealth Authority Board in Fort Chipewyan.1