For immediate release
June 13, 2019

Photo of Marie Ballantyne

Elder Marie Ballantyne

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is pleased to help induct Cree Elder Marie Ballantyne into the Circle of Honour tonight at the 18th annual Keeping the Fires Burning event in Winnipeg.

This annual celebration, organized by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. and the sākihiwēwin Foundation, is the largest Indigenous event that celebrates the best of Indigenous excellence and culture in Manitoba. Over the past 17 years, the event has honoured 129 Indigenous grandmothers and grandfathers for making a contribution to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

“We are so proud to know grandmother Marie Ballantyne. She is a matriarch who is a helper to anyone who seeks guidance from her,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “Elder Ballantyne encourages healing for communities and individuals. Her strong connection to the land, culture, ceremony, spirituality, language, and community will ensure that her gifts are passed to future generations. It is my honour to know Elder Ballantyne and I give sincere thanks for her ongoing service to community.”

Marie Ballantyne was born and raised in Mathias Columb Cree Nation. She lives in Thompson, Manitoba and is the resident Elder at the University College of the North. A mother to 6 children, Elder Ballantyne is also a grandmother to more than 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Fluent in the Cree language, Elder Ballantyne is deeply rooted in her culture. Guided through ceremony, she is well-respected in the community and is often called upon for her traditional knowledge, support, guidance, and mentorship. She has spent most of her life being a helper to those who seek her guidance as an Elder and grandmother.

Tonight Grandmother Ballantyne joins seven other individuals who are being inducted into the Circle of Honour. These Knowledge Keepers were selected by MKO and other Indigenous representative organizations in Manitoba.