Jonas Beaulieu was born at Little Buffalo River village near Fort Resolution on September 7, 1922. He was the seventh child born to Marie (Dosnoir) and Louison Beaulieu and the Grandson of Louison Dosnoir, who was Chief for a day when the Treaty party arrived in Fort Resolution for the signing of Treaty 8 on July 25, 1900.
His boyhood years were spent living the nomadic lifestyle on the land hunting and trapping in the Barren Lands and surrounding area. The family lived in the area now known as Lutsel K’e before the settlement was established. The Hudson’s Bay Company didn’t build it’s post at Snowdrift (later changed back to the name Lutsel K’e), until 1925. Jonas attended Mission School until he reached grade seven and later took correspondence while in the hospital in Fort Resolution with TB. His correspondence resulted in achieving a certificate in diesel mechanics and boilers.
The traditional Beaulieu family had many talents, one of which was music. Each member of the family played guitar, fiddle, harmonica, accordion and piano. They were also well known for their Métis style of dance, fancy footwork, and singing. Jonas continues with his music to this day.
In the early days, Jonas was employed at the Ingraham Sawmill on the Slave River, making countless cat train trips across the ice of Great Slave Lake to Yellowknife with lumber from the sawmill. As a Pilot for the Fort Resolution Roman Catholic Mission he sailed the rivers and lakes shipping goods for the mission and the sawmill. He took every opportunity to work at small engines repair, mechanics, carpentry, welding, machining, boat building, painting, and small appliance repair including: radios, clocks, watches, sewing machines, and eventually televisions, washers and dryers.
One of Jonas’ more memorable marine adventures was ferrying lumber from Fort Resolution by boat to build a church at Lutsel K’e. The boat was buffeted and battered by high winds and thunderous waves that finally swamped, capsized and sunk the boat at Lutsel K’e. The Missionaries wanted to abandon the vessel since even the engine was under water. But during the month it took to build the new church Jonas worked on the boat. He retrieved the motor, restored it, refloated the boat, reinstalled the motor and motored the boat back to Fort Resolution after finishing the Church.
Jonas met and fell in love with Violet. They were married in the Saint Joseph Catholic Church on January 12, 1953. In the early 60’s, Jonas constructed a home for his young family in Fort Resolution without any financial assistance from the government. He and Violet raised nine children. They now have 14 grandchildren and two great grand children.
Fluent in English, Chipewyan and Michif, Jonas still enjoys playing musical instruments, is working on several projects at home, and serves as a member of the Fort Resolution Métis Elder Council.
Jonas Beaulieu is a devoted husband and father. He has lived his life for the creator. His kindness and love for people is felt whenever you enter his home or meet him on his travels. He is a role model and an inspiration for all Métis.
Material gathered by Violet Mandeville