Sanderson, Elsie (Dorion). (b.

By Leah Dorion Elsie M. Sanderson (Dorion) was born on November 2, 1941 in the historic Metis community of Cumberland House, Saskatchewan. She was raised in the extended family system by her mother Cecilia Dorion and three Aunt’s Helen, Mariah, and Anne. Elsie has grounded herself in traditional knowledge and has been a student of traditional teaching for over thirty-five years. She herself is a natural leader and has taught academic courses such as Indigenous Peoples Philosophy, World View, the treaty making process, treaty relationship and rights, Spiritual and natural laws. Elsie has been influenced by many Elders and has been adopted in customary fashion by respected Saulteaux Elder Danny Musqua. Elsie has had holistic training and is experienced in running workshops on topics such as anger management, family violence, contemporary life skills, traditional life skills, proposal writing, and curriculum development. She is very proud of her work conducting research, and writing for the development of a healing and traditional parenting program. Elsie has a unique blend of traditional education combined with formal managerial training. Elsie received her early formal education at Charlebois School in Cumberland House. The community offered no higher that a grade nine education so in 1956 she moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to attend the Academic Presentation de La Marie. In 1961 she completed the two-year Executive Management and Administration program at the Institute Notre Dame de la Providence. This training led her to hold many positions such as the Executive Secretary to the Clerk of the town of La Pas Manitoba until 1964. In 1965, she was the Executive Secretary to the publisher of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. In 1969, she began as a secretary/recorder for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Shortly after that she worked as an administrator for the Prince Albert District Chiefs. In 1973-1980, she worked for the FSIN and played an important behind the scenes role for the organization. Between 1980-1986, she worked for numerous programs within FSIN. In 1987 she became a self-employed consultant. Elsie’s consulting services are as diverse as her busy life. She has filled her time lecturing for universities, evaluating social programs and services, developing and delivering First Nation Public Administration. Her skills and abilities include being a skilled orator and storyteller. Elsie is a leader in her family and community. She is often called in as an Elder to deal with difficult situations. She is well respected for her incredible memory and ability to recall and share important oral history. Elsie enjoys music and still finds time to sing and play guitar with family and friends. Elsie is fluent in the Swampy Cree language and is proud of the bush skills she learned growing up in Cumberland House. Elsie is also an accomplished writer and researcher she was very involved in rewriting and editing curriculum for the First Nation Government Specialist Training Program. Some of hr most memorable professional accomplishments in being a member of a team that conceptualized, developed, negotiated for and is table shed the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and other FSIN educational and social programs.

She is also a founding member of the First Nations Forum, an institute established for developing and promotion of First Nation Public Policy, training and consulting services. She is a proud mother of four boys James, Curtis, Perry, and Jason and a grandmother to many. She is a pipe carrier and practioner of traditional lifeways. Elsie currently lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with her longtime partner Former FSIN Chief Sol Sanderson. (Contributed by Elsie’s niece, Leah Dorion.)

Compiled and Edited by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute

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