Canada’s longest-serving chief, who is now retired, is among three Indigenous leaders who are featured in an upcoming stamp set to pay tribute for their contributions and the lingering impacts they leave on the country.
Canada Post unveiled a stamp set that features retired Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier from Okanese First Nation as an everlasting tribute of her accomplishments, as well as her work to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in her community and within the province.
“Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier spent nearly 40 years as leader of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan — the most consecutive terms ever served by an elected First Nations chief in Canada,” according to a release.
“She led several projects related to education, wellness and social reform, while also working to preserve the culture, language and traditions of her people. In 2018, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
“This spring, she was in the Indigenous delegation that met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system, of which she is a survivor.”
On Wednesday, the stamp unveiling for Day Walker-Pelletier commenced in Fort Qu’Appelle, located in Treaty 4 territory. Day Walker-Pelletier said she is honoured to be featured on a Canada Post stamp but joked when she first found out the news.
“When Canada Post first phone me … (I said) are you kidding me? I don’t want anybody licking me,” she said. “I am just overwhelmed by all of this,” she said. “I encourage everyone to buy a stamp.”
With all of Day Walker-Pelletier’s accomplishments throughout her years as a leader, she hopes to inspire the younger generations.
“It’s never about me. It’s about you and how you contributed to my life … you (built) the foundation of where I am today,” she said. “For our future generations, hopefully this stamp will inspire our young people, our youth that life goes on regardless of the obstacles that we go through. There’s always tomorrow and there’s hope and that the stamp will reflect the desires of where I want it to be and that’s to inspire our young people.”
On the morning of June 13, a stamp unveiling occurred for Harry Daniels, who was a politician, activist, writer and actor who dedicated his life to the rights and well-being of Métis and non-status Indians in Canada.
Daniels passed away in 2004.
“Among his most important contributions was ensuring their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples by lobbying to have them included as one of the Indigenous Peoples recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, and recognized as “Indians” under the British North America Act, 1867,” according to a release.
“In March 2004, he was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council.”
The second stamp unveiling occurred on June 14 for Jose Kusugak from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, who was recognized for his role and efforts that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999. He advocated to raise awareness on Inuit identity and issues in this country.
Stamps and collectibles will be available at canadapost.ca and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.