“She is a gem”

Kathleen Anderson named MNO Volunteer of the Year

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 Kathleen Anderson who was announced as the recipient of this year’s award on day one of the MNO’s 29th Annual General Assembly on August 20, 2022.

Kathleen is currently the President of the Thames Bluewater Métis Council and a key part of the Métis community in the London region. Kathleen’s nominator may have said it best when they called her “a gem”. The sentiments of Kathleen’s nominator are below:

Kathleen Anderson named MNO Volunteer of the Year
MNO President Margaret Froh with MNO Volunteer of the Year Kathleen Anderson.

Kathleen Anderson has one of the most impressive records of selfless commitment, engaged citizenship, enlightened and empathetic leadership that I have witnessed in my lifetime’s-worth of volunteer engagement.

Kathleen is both inspired and inspirational. She is someone who understands the value of Métis knowledge and culture, and someone who “gets it” on many levels. She is highly skilled and has an insightful political analyst. She does what she can to better the lives of those around her.

Kathleen takes people’s ideas seriously and respectfully, showing patience and grace when others act with less than commendable behavior toward her. I have witnessed how citizens and council members in her Thames Bluewater Métis Council (TBWMC) look up to her and value her hard work on behalf of both their Council and the Métis Nation of Ontario at large. She welcomes others to learn about and engage with the work of her Council. This was something I saw at the TBWMC’s first – and very successful – Rendezvous at the Pinery Provincial Park.

She has helped her Council to rebuild itself, ensuring that principles of transparency and inclusion inform its every move. She is a consummate team-player. She always ‘walks the talk.’

As a Two-Spirit I have seen her ally-ship in action, working in the cause of social justice to change things for the better. In 2021, when our Clear Waters Métis Council (CWMC) was elected and faced the challenge of rebuilding our Council from scratch, Kathleen helped us on so many fronts: attending one of our meetings to help map out the road that lay ahead; articulating the principles that inform the workings of her now-healthy council; encouraging us; and providing hands-on help, like showing us how to create an email list; and teaching us about the importance of fund-raising.

She works diligently for the greater good. She’s smart, fun, and a great person. I admire her greatly. She is a gem.