2016 INDIGENOUS LEADER OF THE YEAR
AUDREY POITRAS, MÉTIS NATION OF ALBERTA
Audrey was elected as the first female President in 1996, becoming the longest-serving President of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA). This is a strong statement that displays the trust and leadership she has gained. Audrey has been a strong advocate for Métis rights and will continue to move the Métis rights agenda forward with the help of the Daniels Supreme Court decision in 2016. President Poitras successfully negotiated partnerships with colleges and universities, for Métis Endowment funds of 22 million. She also oversaw the creation of the MNA’s Rupertsland Institute, Métis Centre of Excellence, which is a unique partnership with the University of Alberta promoting education, training and research.
Audrey is recognized within Alberta as a leader who is committed to helping build a better economic future for her organization. She has been supportive in developing business relationships, which has included the establishment of a business vendor database that has helped open doors for Indigenous people’s involvement in the natural resource sector. In 2005, Audrey was honoured to learn that she was named one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture magazine. President Poitras has also received numerous awards and achievement milestones throughout her leadership, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
One of Audrey’s greatest achievements, in the preservation of Métis culture, history and language, was the creation of Métis Crossing, a multi-million dollar cultural interpretive site, along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Smoky Lake, Alberta. Métis Crossing has proved to be not only a smart business choice, but one that will remain for a long time to come.