Alphonsine Lafond: A Transformative Woman
Chief Alphonsine Lafond SOM (Venne) was a transformative woman in a transformative time. Born in 1926 in Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, she grew up in a time of stark discrimination, where both women and Indigenous peoples had few opportunities. She attended St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, then worked in Vancouver as a waitress and in Saskatoon as a domestic worker. In 1953, she married Albert Lafond, a World War II and Korean War veteran from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.
Chief Lafond achieved many important firsts, and her heart was always with her people. In 1960 she was elected Chief of Muskeg Lake First Nation. In 1975, she was appointed as a Saskatchewan Justice of the Peace. She was the first elected Indigenous person as a provincial school board trustee representing a First Nation community. In 1992, she was the first woman appointed as a Senator in the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations,
and in 1999 she became Chair of the FSIN Senate. Chief Lafond was recognized for her contributions with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and Canada 125 Medal.
In the spirit of transformative change, Chief Lafond`s granddaughter Alphonsine R. Lafond and family are establishing the Alphonsine Lafond Initiative, marking the 60th anniversary of Chief Lafond’s election by investing in young Indigenous women through their Saskatoon Community Foundation fund.
Photo: submitted by the Lafond family.