Brandon University’s Professor, Dr. Karen Batson has made history for Manitoba’s Pine Creek First Nation. Dr. Batson ran for Chief, and won the election earlier this month based on her stressing the importance of educational opportunities for her First Nations future. She also wishes to enhance the economic developments of the reserve, address the infrastructure and social issues that have been going on.
It seems that this would be a logical step forward for the Indigenous communities, as historically the women had a lot of power and influence over important decisions. One does not have to look far to see this - just view the matriarchs of ancient tribes or the Empresses of Indigenous empires. It was only after colonialism that women started taking lesser roles within the leadership of the communities. Having not only a brilliant, competent woman elected Chief but a strong and supportive member of the community can only lead to good things for the people of Pine Creek.
Dr. Batson has said how honoured she is to have been elected and is very grateful for the love and support of her community. She is determined to create a positive change through the guidance and teachings of the Elders and Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) culture. Batson joined the Faculty of Health Studies at BU in 2010 and has contributed much to the faculty and education of students, as well as bringing insight and experience to the Psychiatric Nursing program. The BU Dean of Health Studies, Dr. W Dean Care is confident that ‘Karen’s leadership will prove beneficial to Pine Creek’.
Dr. Batson has taught at BU and ACC, and also worked as a medical health practitioner. She has built a career, raised a family and now is looking back to her roots to the next big step in her life. Batson is taking a 4-year political leave and will be working on a positive legacy for the youth, community members and Elders as her position of Chief.
Congratulations goes out to Dr. Batson for her accomplishment in the election and the mile stone of becoming the first female Chief of Pine Creek.
Best of luck and wishes from the BU community and The Quill; we know you’ll do your best!
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 21, February 7th, 2017.