Malhotra joins Governor General to pay respects to James Smith Cree Nation

Dr. Lalita Malhotra and Governor General Mary Simon -- Submitted by Lalita Malhotra

“Angel of the North” Dr. Lalita Malhotra showed her support for the James Smith Cree Nation on Wednesday during a visit with the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, where she said a prayer for the community and joined in on traditional activities.

On Sept. 4, a mass stabbing left 11 people dead in the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Village of Weldon.

Simon visited the burial sites of the victims of the tragedy, where she laid down pouches of tobacco before returning to the Bernard Constant Community School gymnasium with Malhotra for speeches, dancing, and a traditional meal of wild meat, bannock and a fish fry.

The packed room full of community members heard speeches from Simon and local Indigenous leaders, including Chief Wally Burns of the James Smith Cree Nation, Rob Head of Peter Chapman Band, Calvin Sanderson of Chakastaypasin Band, and Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte of the Prince Albert Grand Council.

Malhotra said she was too overwhelmed with emotions; she couldn’t bring herself to speak during the event.

“My relationship with the community has been very strong for the past 45 years, I have patients there that I delivered the third generation. Some of my patients there were injured, and a few passed away,” she said. “It was just too emotional at that time because of my relationship with everybody, it was very touching.”

After joining in on some traditional Indigenous dancing, Malhotra said she had some conversations with the James Smith leadership on how she could help the community moving forward.

Before departing, Malhotra was gifted a starblanket by the James Smith Cree Nation to thank her for all her support and to honour her dedicated work with members of the community.