Marie-Louise Perron named MNO Volunteer of the Year
2021 Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award winner announced at the 28th MNO Annual General Assembly
Since 2006, the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award has been presented to a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen who has made ongoing contributions to the MNO and their own community. Congratulations go to Marie-Louise Perron who was announced as the recipient of this year’s award on day one of the MNO’s 28th Annual General Assembly on September 18, 2021.
Marie-Louise is a key part of the Métis community in the Ottawa region. She is a leader and very active volunteer. She has had, and continues to have, an impact on her community, the MNO and the Métis Nation as a whole.
Marie-Louise was born on her grandfather’s land in Saskatchewan and is a descendant of the Red River Métis and early French newcomers. She has been an MNO citizen since 2004. She is a Métis knowledge keeper and has been an educator, mentor, author, archivist and public servant at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, Library and Archives Canada and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
Marie-Louise has maintained, and promoted, the traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples throughout her life. She continues to maintain her Métis roots in Saskatchewan and also to the Francophone Archives in that province whose activities include working on reconciliation and promoting indigenous history and culture.
Marie-Louise has volunteered as a member of the MNO Ottawa Region Métis Council (ORMC) since 2016. She currently serves as the Chair. As Chair, she manages all meetings in a fair, professional, inclusive, efficient and constructive manner. She has played a key, leading role in ensuring strong and effective governance. She also volunteered to take on the extra responsibility of being the acting Council President when the President was sick. She used her Métis knowledge in a leading role to develop and present a Métis 101 presentation which is aimed at broadening the knowledge and awareness of the Métis culture and community.
Marie-Louise took the lead for the ORMC for all things related to COVID-19 support. She also demonstrated leadership and adaptability in moving to the virtual meeting format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marie-Louise is also one of the key members in MNO Region 6 developing the Self-Government Regional Implementation Agreement.
Marie-Louise volunteered to attend a number of meetings with Ottawa Public Health officials to ensure that public health services were responsive and inclusive of the local Métis community. She continues with this vital initiative. She recently met with Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health (OPH), to discuss continued COVID-19 support and establishing community ties for the longer term.
When founding MNO President Tony Belcourt was downsizing his home, Marie-Louise gave countless hours helping him prepare hundreds of boxes of records pertaining to the history of the MNO and the modern Metis political movement and prepared them for their new home at Library and Archives Canada. Marie-Louise’s work to help our founding president helped the entire MNO to ensure our story was protected.
Marie-Louise has volunteered in support of all the major post-secondary institutions in the Ottawa Area, including Carlton University, the University of Ottawa, and Algonquin College. Marie-Louise’ work has directly benefited many Metis Students to feel seen, heard and supported in their educational journey.
Marie-Louise pursues historical and genealogical research projects and offers workshops on tracing Indigenous ancestry. These volunteer initiatives have strengthened her reputation as a champion of Métis culture and history.
She has presented, and published, in both English and French, for national and international audiences, on subjects including the French/Métis songs and stories of the Perron-Laderoute-Marion-St. Arnaud families, instruction on tracing one’s family history, and the value of archives to society.
In the words of one of her nominators: “Marie Louise epitomizes selfless commitment to her heritage and has, and continues, to give generously of her time and knowledge. She is a caring individual that the citizens in our community look up to.”
Thank You Marie-Louise for all you do.