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Still going strong at 84 years young


Josie Auger, Windspeaker Staff Writer, Edmonton







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Dr. Anne Anderson, respected Metis elder, Cree instructor and historian celebrated her 84th birthday at 'Joe's place', a west-end restaurant and dining lounge on February 3.

The Metis elder lives to write, having written 92 books. She plans to finish her autobiography and complete a 50,000 Cree word dictionary within two years so she can spend some time with her supportive husband Alex.

Restaurant owner Joe Blyan dedicated the night to the Metis elder.

"Joe's Place" was full of friends and supporters. A huge home-made chocolate cake and a dozen roses were presented to Dr. Anderson to mark the special occasion.

"I am truly honored to be here tonight. Each year I am much happier, for the wonderful friends I have," said Anderson.

Anderson was born February 3, 1906 in St. Albert. Her father William Gairdner, was of French and Scottish descent. Anderson's mother Elizabeth Caillioux was an Iroquois Indian.

As an infant, Anne was tiny and frail and because of this her mother would worry about her a lot.

"I was so small my mom made my bed in a shoebox lined with rabbit fur. She thought I was going to die. She asked a medicine man to make me strong." said Anderson.

The medicine man consoled her mother. He told her Anne would never be sick and instead would grow into a big woman, said Anderson.

Today, at 84, Anderson suffers from arthritis but her health and vitality is simply amazing to friends and family.

Anderson often still spends almost a full day at the Metis Heritage Cultural Resource Center, located on 124 Street and 107th Avenue.