Having lived over one hundred years Betsy's memory serves as a vivid testimony to the recent history of the Sayisi Dene. "We lost our land but I have something they can't take, my memory. I know what happened to our people."

Several years after the treaty signing of 1910, her people moved to Duck Lake to be by the Hudson Bay Company trading post, a good time for the Dene. However, in 1951, the Indian Act came into being and an atmosphere developed to assimilate Aboriginal people into white society. This came at a time when the traditional caribou hunt became unacceptable to conservation officers. One day a plane came, picked up her people and deposited them on the shores of Churchill. "I knew it would be a disaster and that is what it became." Betsy Anderson did survive the horrors of Churchill. Many of her people did not. Over time the Sayisi Dene moved back to the land and eventually arrived at Tadoule Lake.

After spending the day with Betsy in her home I commented on her stamina and excellent sense of humor. She replied, "I try not to let anything get me down. I am now the oldest in my community. I had to be strong to survive in this world." Betsy passed away in the summer of 2004 at 104 years of age. Her portrait displays the joyful laughter that accompanied the wisdom she loved to share with others.

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Betsy Anderson
Sayisi Dene, Tadoule Lake
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 975