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Editor’s note: This month’s Co-op Community Champion dedicates so much time to the Fort St. John Métis Society that it was surprising to find a moment to speak with her.

Co-op is highlighting people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for the work they do in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.

This month’s Champion is the president of the Fort St. John Métis Society, Jacqueline Alderking.

Alderking moved to the city in 1975 as a single mother with her two sons after attending cooking school in Dawson Creek. She worked at the Alexander MacKenzie Inn for a couple of years before being offered a job as a cook at the Fort St. John Hospital, where she spent almost 27 years, and then spent five years at the OSB mill.

While working and supporting her family, Alderking began volunteering for the Métis society whenever they needed help before going steady with the organization in 2012.

“It’s been a very important part of my life. I’ve watched my dad and my uncle struggle. They’re both Métis,” says Alderking.

“I wanted to try to help our community because I saw a lot of need, and there still is a lot of needs. I’m hoping now that we’re under the leadership of Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) that things are going to get better for our community.”

Alderking became a relief president in 2014 as the former president became ill.

“We thought that she was going to recover and would come back. Unfortunately, she’s no longer with us, and of course, then we had to go to an AGM and then I got voted in. I’ve been here ever since.”

As mentioned by the individual who nominated Alderking, representing the society is her full-time duty. Her duties range from meetings with local organizations going over the needs of the community to planning events.

“Basically, get all of this into the planning, and I report back to the board, what you know we’re doing and what we need help with, and they’ve been awesome to doing that kind of stuff for us.”

She also sits on regional opioid crisis and Indigenous education boards.

The organization has honed in on many vital needs for Métis members in the northeast, such as housing, food, medical, daycare centres and cultural education. Alderking says the society is currently waiting for funding from MNBC for housing needs.

“With the Sixties Scoop and the residential schools, that a lot of our parents and grandparents came from, we need to rebuild that part of our lives, get back in touch with the land.”

Youth in the community have been showing interest in Métis history and culture, according to Alderking.

“We need them to spend time with elders, getting to learn how to do these things…There are so many things from our heritage that can be taught but needs to be taught by the elders. So that’s kind of what we’re working on when I put on youth programs and elder programs because the elders are mentoring the youth.”

Alderking continues to advocate for Métis needs in the city and surrounding area and looks forward to the future under the guidance of the MNBC.

Co-op’s Community Champion is highlighting people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for the work they do in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition, head to Energeticcity’s website.

 

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