Hers was a legacy of humility, wisdom and above all, compassion. Madeleine had, indeed, earned a PhD in life.

“My father had many mouths to feed. He was often gone for long periods on his trap line. We moved from camp to camp, left nothing behind. We were poor but happy. There was much love in our family. Dad was always laughing though a hard worker. A strong Roman Catholic, he had us pray first thing in the morning and just before bed.”

Madeleine and Wellington began living together after their first son was born. They raised a large family and adopted many children from their community. For over 30 years, the respected couple presented culture workshops in western Canada and United States and were esteemed members of the Elders Council of University College of the North.

“I’ve had a good life. Thinking back, I wish I could return to the wilderness, pick berries, smoke meat, tan hides … make bannock. Those are my happiest memories.”


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Madeleine Spence
Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (Nelson House)
Image size: 11 x 13.25 inches
Edition Size: 275