Life in the north, fo­cus on fam­ily keeps for­mer min­is­ter grounded

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - BETTY ANN ADAM

Joan Beatty’s life­long SASKA­TOON work for the bet­ter­ment of In­dige­nous peo­ple has al­ways been grounded in fam­ily, com­mu­nity and love of the land.

Nine years af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial and un­suc­cess­ful bid for the fed­eral seat in the Des­nethe—Missinippi—Churchill River rid­ing, Beatty spends her days at her fam­ily’s Twin Bay fish­ing re­sort near Descham­beault Lake and at her cabin at their even more re­mote trap line at Big Sandy Lake.

“I want to be lost in the bush,” she said with a laugh. Even when her work re­quired liv­ing in Regina, she al­ways man­aged to get home and “get grounded again.”

Beatty’s par­ents, Os­car and Bella Beatty, were lead­ers in the com­mu­nity. Her fa­ther was one of the found­ing mem­bers of the Ossey Fish­ers Co­op­er­a­tive.

Beatty worked in em­ploy­ment pro­grams, help­ing to find jobs for In­dige­nous peo­ple. She also worked with the pre­cur­sor to the Fed­er­a­tion of Sov­er­eign In­dige­nous Na­tions, the Fed­er­a­tion of Saskatchewan In­di­ans.

There, she learned from lead­ers like David Ahenakew and Sol and Ca­role San­der­son, as they de­signed “In­dian con­trol of In­dian ed­u­ca­tion” poli­cies for the FSI. Those led to cre­ation of the Saskatchewan In­dian Cul­tural Cen­tre and the Saskatchewan In­dian Fed­er­ated Col­lege, which be­came First Na­tions Univer­sity of Canada.

She wrote for SaskNa­tive Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and hosted pro­grams in Cree at CBC’s La Ronge ra­dio sta­tion. She was the first In­dige­nous tele­vi­sion re­porter with CBC in Regina, where she worked for 15 years. She served a term on the Peter Bal­lan­tyne Cree Na­tion coun­cil.

In 2003, Beatty was elected MLA for Cum­ber­land and was ap­pointed by then pre­mier Lorne Calvert as min­is­ter of Youth, Cul­ture and Re­cre­ation.

She was re-elected in 2007, when the Saskatchewan Party swept to power. Just two months later, she re­signed when fed­eral Lib­eral leader Stephane Dion ap­pointed her the can­di­date for Des­nethe— Missinippi—Churchill River.

She lost the 2008 by­elec­tion to Con­ser­va­tive Rob Clarke.

Soon af­ter, Beatty moved home to care for her ail­ing fa­ther un­til he died five years later. She then cared for her mother un­til her death two years ago.

Beatty works with fam­ily run­ning the re­sort, trap­ping and help­ing with the fish­ery.

Joan Beatty

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