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Elsie Yanik

Lifetime Achievement (2015)

“Make a difference. Create a better world by being kind. Kindness is enduring. Kindness is contagious. Kindness makes everyone feel good.”

Elsie received an honorary Law Degree from the University of Alberta in April 2014. She has spent most of her long life spreading kindness, preserving Indigenous heritage and promoting health and education in her community. She began work as a nurse’s aide at 17 and has spent 80 years spreading kindness as a minister, mentor and volunteer. Her community commitment has included terms as president of the board of Voice of Native Women of Alberta, 10 years of service with the Young Offenders Board, and work with the Nunee Health Authority in Fort Chipewyan. Her efforts have earned her a blessing from Pope John Paul II, a Governor General’s Commemorative Medal, and the duty of Olympic torch-bearer for the 2010 Winter Games. At 97, she still works with Keyano College as an elder and occasionally teaches classes at the Golden Years’ Society. She has received numerous honours from her community.