Dr. Agathe Chartrand
Agathe Chartrand is a Michif Elder born and raised in St Laurent, Mb. She was born in 1940 and went to school at St Laurent School, but had to quit at a young age to work in Winnipeg for many years, before moving back home to take care of her mother.
At a later stage in her life, in 2011, she joined the Michif French Ladies to write the first Michif French Dictionary. The book includes Michif French words, prayers and traditional recipes. Five years later, they self-published the first ever “Michif French Dictionary” at McNally Robinson on Grant in Winnipeg. They did it all with no funding. Now, two ladies in the group have passed away: Patricia Millar-Chartrand and Doris Michalyenko-Leclerc.
The group of ladies taught one class at St Laurent School from grades K-12 with plans on going back in the fall and work with the local Headstart. They also teach crafts, making slippers and mitts and little purses with 100% wool material, as well as beading and embroidery.
They are excited to now be working on translating a musical Riel: Kewr of the North” into Michif French for Michif poet Suzanne Steele-Gaudry and composer Neil Weisensel.
In 2020, they were given recognition for their effort to keep their culture and language alive, and each received their Honorary Doctorate for Doctors of Letters from the University of Winnipeg.