Betty Ann Durocher receives Bronze Medal Order of Gabriel Dumont

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate Betty Ann Durocher proudly show her Bronze Medal Order of Gabriel Dumont.

Betty Ann Durocher is following her dream. A third-year student with the Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP), she’s recently honoured with the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Bronze Medal Order of Gabriel Dumont Award.

The Medal was presented during the 2024 NSITEP Graduation ceremonies at the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) on Friday, May 24.

Betty Anne has a passion for her language and Métis culture and shares it wherever she can.

She is a Métis woman, a fluent Cree-speaker from Pinehouse Lake, who began training in 2001 years ago with the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) program, but, as a single parent with three young children; the going was tough. She put aside her education plans to raise her children. She is now also a grandmother to three children.

“I tried it for one year, but my head wasn’t in the game. Having little ones , chasing them around, it was kind of tough,” she said in an interview with the Norther Advocate.

She moved back home to Pinehouse Lake, worked at several jobs before getting a job in the daycare and that ignited her dream and led her to NSITEP.

“From there it opened up that educational mind again … Hey, I think it’s time I go back to school again, almost 30 years later.”

She is now completing her third year with NSITEP and life is full.

She’s enjoyed getting to know the different students from various communities across the north.

Coming back into school she’s been learning more about her Métis heritage and culture “the doors opened up into the Métis … I’m very proud to be a Métis woman.”

Although she said, the award wasn’t something she aimed for, it’s a recognition.

“People always recognize you when you work hard, speak our language.”

One of her instructors, Sue Carriere, nominated Betty Ann for the award.

“She is a proud Métis student who works hard to demonstrate cultural pride in her teaching and her work excels because of her perseverance … She balances her home life with school and continues to thrive,” Carriere wrote in her submission.

Recently Betty Ann has taken on the position of Chief within the NSITEP student body and continues to work to “made things significantly better for the student body.

“She does not hesitate to speak on behalf of the students … she has worked hard to be a role model for other students and stives to be an excellent teacher, with a wonderful sense of humour,” Carriere wrote.