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Mary McKenzie

66 years old

By Willow Lake Métis Nation

Mary McKenzie is a respected and incredibly supportive Elder of the Willow Lake Métis Nation.  Born in Anzac, Alberta, Mary has shared a considerable amount of traditional knowledge with  people from all walks of life and all ages. Her teachings have been critical to the Nation’s  cultural and historical preservation – her continued efforts will ensure these teachings are  passed on.

Mary’s cultural teachings have taken many forms, though perhaps some of her most special  contributions are her sharing of knowledge through art and storytelling. Mary has taught her art  to many children and adults throughout her lifetime, some of which she attributes to learning  from her mother. These art forms include, but are not limited to, art beading, sewing, painting,  carving and weaving. Her storytelling was included in a book of Northern Alberta Métis elders’  stories, where she shared How the Black Poplar Got Its Sacred Bark. This tale was also told to  the students at Bill Woodward School in Anzac, AB.

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In 2022, Mary was recognized for her contributions to her community and to Anzac as a  recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. As a descendant of one of the  historical Métis families in Anzac / Willow Lake, her willingness to share her culture with all  those around her to foster community and understanding and preserve important knowledge  has had a profound impact on all those fortunate enough to spend time with her.

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