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Dorothy Francis
Dorothy Francis

Oil on Canvas, 24 x 28, 1983
Dorothy Francis, Maquabeak
1923-1990
Singer, Dancer, Storyteller, Educator
Saulteaux

Dorothy Francis
  • Born on the Waywayseecoppo Reserve in Manitoba.
  • Recipient of the Order of Canada for cultural revitalization efforts.

"Indians have been treated as second-class citizens for so long that unfortunately many of our people have come to believe it. It takes a very brave Indian to keep his Native identity and to be proud of it." - Dorothy Francis, Maquabeak

 

“We have to make the Indians realize that they are important people...I want to help Native people if I can; help anyone in this world, Chinese, Japanese, East Indian, English, Scottish, Irish – so many people. We need a spiritual renewal – one mankind.” - Dorothy Francis, Maquabeak

 

Dorothy Francis – in Saulteaux, Maquabeak – had all the presence of her namesake, the bear. Through her grandmother's teaching and her years at residential school, Maquabeak's childhood inspired a lifelong struggle to reconcile cultures that led her to the Bahá'í faith and cultural preservation. Though she was physically unimposing, Maquabeak's voice crossed the nation through a series of radio and TV programs. She told stories and sang, introducing the Saulteaux language and culture throughout Canada. She worked to teach children about their heritage and provided social programs and information for young people of First Nations descent. Through arts and crafts, dance and philosophy at the Indian Friendship Centre in Winnipeg, a Native Spirituality program for British Columbia correctional facilities, and her social and spiritual work, Dorothy Francis lived a life that inspired change on local, provincial and national levels beyond her death in 1990. She received the Order of Canada (1978) for work in education, activism and cultural preservation in Western Canada.

 

For more information about First Nations in B.C., resources available at UBC, or information about these individuals, visit the Resources section.

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