Women Warrior Wednesdays

Woman Warrior Wednesday – Profiles that Inspire

Women Warriors is a tribute to my grandmother, Anne Enge (1933-2010). She had many accolades to her name, including the first Aboriginal woman in the Northwest Territories to obtain her high school diploma, a wonderful mother to seven children, and a respected Metis elder in her community. She also had type II diabetes, and it’s an intergenerational disease in my family. Following is an excerpt from the Northern News Services obituary article published on Friday, April 9th, 2010.

Born in Fort Smith in 1933, Anne Mercredi spent her early years living on her father’s trapline. After her mother came down with tuberculosis, she and her sister were sent to a residential school in Fort Resolution.

She started working at 16, following a two-year battle with tuberculosis, but she would eventually graduate from Grade 12. She then attended the McTavish Business College in Edmonton and upon graduation got a job at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Edmonton.

She married Bill Enge in her early 20s and had seven children. The family moved to Yellowknife in 1969, where she worked eight years as a matron at the former Yellowknife Women’s Correctional Centre. Following the breakup of her marriage, she moved to Calgary with four of her children in 1977 to attend the University of Calgary, from which she graduated with a degree in social work in 1981.

She then worked at the NWT Department of Social Services until her retirement.

Anne was a school board trustee with Yellowknife Education District No. 1 from 2000 to 2003, working alongside fellow trustee Terry Brookes. He said he had enjoyed working with her and described her as “a very eloquent lady.”

“(She was) a woman who would speak her mind and a woman who was worth listening to. She had many good and very calm and intelligent comments that I wanted to hear,” he said. “She helped collectively make a better education system for the kids and that’s what it ultimately comes down to.”

Brookes said Anne Enge was the first Yk1 board member with an aboriginal background.

She was at the forefront, he added, of the introduction of aboriginal education into the school system.

“She had that magic to enjoy life and she always had a very full laugh. She always had a great smile. She always looked at the positive side.”

Bill said his mother taught her children to be proud Metis.

 

“There are additional barriers to aboriginal people to accomplish things, but in my mother’s way of thinking, don’t let that drag you down,” he said. “If you show the determination and the heart for something, you are going to get there. Dream and aim high and work at it.”

I created Women Warriors to help women reclaim their health and self-esteem through an active lifestyle. My focus is on raising awareness of the type II diabetes epidemic in Canada, and prevention through physical activity. My group offers free fitness classes and nutrition education, because good health should never be elitist.

Profiles that Inspire

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