War Lake First Nation Chief Betsy Kennedy was one of 11 Manitobans who received the Order of Manitoba, the province’s highest honour, from Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon at a ceremony in the legislature building in Winnipeg July 7.
Kennedy has been chief of War Lake First Nation since 2006 and is the longest-serving female chief in Manitoba. During her time in office, the First Nation has seen the development of a new nursing station, a new store, a garage, a water treatment plant, a youth centre and a community fish facility. She was one of the four Northern Manitoba chiefs who signed the Joint Keeyask Development Agreement with Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government at Split Lake in 2009 and addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women in 2014 about how women and children living in First Nations can be better served by the federal government. She was also part of a delegation from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), which represents 30 Northern Manitoba First Nations, that travelled to in London, United Kingdom in October 2013 to mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
Order recipients are selected by the lieutenant-governor based on recommendations by a nine-member advisory and their names are on permanent display on a plaque on the legislature’s second floor. Up to 12 people receive the award each year.
“The exceptional women and men to be invested into the Order of Manitoba serve to inspire us all and reinforce the difference that any one person can make in their community, province, nationally or even on a global scale,” said the lieutenant-governor in a July 6 news release. “The newest members of the order will bring the total number invested to 221 since this honour was created in 1999.”