métis success

Academic Excellence and Overcoming Adversity – Dr. Lois Edge

The Northwest Territory Métis Nation would like to recognize NWTMN beneficiary Lois Edge on her various academic achievements. We look forward to your continued contributions to our nation and society, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

The following article contains information submitted by Joanne Edge, sister of Lois Edge.

We come from the legacy of Indian Residential School and Indian Day School.

My sister Lois Edge is the keeper of our family history and for that I am deeply grateful. Dr. Edge is a success to me and has achieved this one moccasin step at a time.

I grew up in Fort Smith where I enjoyed fishing, cross country skiing, frog hunting and observing ravens with frost on their beaks. My mother was raised in the Holy Angels Residential School in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. I am sure this was a difficult and lonely experience for her. I attended school in Fort Smith until the 11th grade. I finished high school in Saskatchewan and after that I graduated from nursing school and worked in Yellowknife, NWT for several years at Stanton Hospital. I still miss the landscape there. Whale back rock and lichen are still two of my favorite things.

I am writing about my older sister Lois Edge. As a young girl she did her best to take care of me and our younger brother Michael. My mother’s Residential School years did not provide much for parenting skills.  Lois became a teenage mother at a young age and gave birth to my nephew Chris Edge alone in the “South”. She did not finish high school and spent many years struggling with alcohol and the challenges of being a young mother. She grew up mostly alone raising a young son. Despite these challenges she never gave up. She went back to school taking one or two courses at a time while working multiple jobs to support herself and her son. No one recognized her steady progress until the day we were invited to her first graduation. No one knew what she was graduating from. Years later we realized it was a  Bachelors Degree from the University of Alberta. She walked across the stage alone that first time proudly but shyly accepting her degree wearing moccasins and jeans.

Over the years Lois continued to pursue her education eventually receiving a Masters Degree followed by a PHD. None us had any idea at all what this actually meant. When she received her PHD she again walked across the stage, alone this time, in moccasins and a ribbon skirt. 

Lois now teaches Indigenous courses to students across Canada and has published works about our grandmother’s bead artistry and has participated in many Métis and Indigenous projects across Canada. Her writings are often cited by authors, students in literary journals. She is also the keeper of our family tree and has connected it to show our roots in the NWT and Northern Alberta. Lois recently spent five years in Fort Smith teaching at Aurora College while raising her granddaughter Gracie. She often sent me local sage, fireweed flowers and braids of sweet grass. I know she dreams of building a cabin just outside of Fort Smith to grow old in. She better hurry up. 

We come from the legacy of Indian Residential School and Indian Day School in our family. Most people have no idea at all how much that maims, twists, distorts subsequent generations. Intergenerational trauma is still deep-rooted part of our family. Metis people from this background are often seen as a part of no group at all. I see hope in our grandchildren and with that I have hope for our great grandchildren. My sister Lois is the keeper of our family history and for that I am deeply grateful. Dr. Edge is a success, and she managed that one moccasin step at a time.

Since most of our family have no idea at all what Lois has achieved, I want to put in writing for her and everyone to see the steps that she has taken-

Lois never graduated high school however She earned and received the following:

  • Bachelor of Arts (University of Alberta) (1994)
  • Master of Arts (University of Alberta) (2001)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Educational Policy Studies-Indigenous Peoples Education, University of Alberta) (2011)

She worked multiple full-time jobs while raising two wonderful children and is now raising her granddaughter. A wonderful caring daughter and an amazing sister she continues to teach a variety of Indigenous Studies to students across Canada. Even though I still have no idea what she teaches. 

Sincerely, with much admiration and love,
Joanne Edge, member of the NWTMN

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