Fort McMurray and the McMurray Métis are still mourning the passing of beloved Métis elder Elsie Yanik.
More condolences are coming in after the 99-year-old passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday.
“Elsie was a proud and distinguished Métis elder who inspired not just many Indigenous people in Northern Alberta, but all people within our region,” said Gail Gallupe, McMurray Métis President, in a statement.
Many across Canada have sent their condolences to her family including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who took the time to honour the work done by the respected Métis elder.
My sincere condolences on the passing of Elsie Yanik at age 99. A highly respected Métis elder, mentor and leader who touched so many. #ymm
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 29, 2016
Yanik was born on September 25, 1917 in Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta. At the age of 17, she started her first job as a nurse’s aide in Fort Smith.
“Throughout her life she was known as a pillar of the community, continuing to give her compassion and wisdom to all, regardless of their background,” said Gallupe. “For me, Elsie was a mentor and I already miss her heartwarming stories, her precious company, and her great sense of humor.”
In 2010, Yanik was given a chance to be an Olympic Torch Bearer for the Vancouver Winter Games.
Her work has also been recognized by the Governor General and Pope John Paul II. She earned a Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for her work throughout the years while being recognized by the former Pope for her work solely as a lay minister.
“Elsie will always remain in the community’s thoughts and I feel blessed to have known her,” said Gallupe. “I feel very passionately that she is now an angel and a loving guide to those left to mourn her.”