Government of Canada recognizes the national historic significance of Marie Rose (Delorme) Smith
During her long life, Smith exemplified leadership as a Métis woman, community builder, homesteader, rancher and author.
January 27, 2023 Gatineau, QC Parks Canada
National historic designations reflect the rich and varied heritage of our country and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history. Marie Rose (Delorme) Smith successfully ran her family’s ranch in Southern Alberta at the turn of the 20th century and established a small cottage industry in a pioneer town, while still maintaining her Métis culture and skills by serving as a medicine woman and midwife. She also owned her own property at a time when few Euro-Canadian women, and even fewer Indigenous women, were able to do so.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the designation of Marie Rose (Delorme) Smith as a person of national historic significance under Parks Canada’s National Program of Historical Commemoration, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Born in 1861 in Saint François-Xavier (Red River), Marie Rose spent several years at the Grey Nuns boarding school in Saint Boniface, Manitoba, before rejoining her family in their yearly routine of leaving the Red River to cross the plains, hunting and trading with First Nation peoples. She was married to Charlie Smith in 1877 and, together, they built a house and barn on the Jughandle Ranch in Alberta where they raised 17 children. Following Charlie’s death in 1914, Marie Rose established a boarding house in the town of Pincher Creek, took a second homestead, served as a midwife and medicine woman, and took the time to write her memoirs. As an author, she is a rare example of a Métis chronicler of the roles of Métis women during the fur trade, buffalo hunting, and homesteading periods, and of the cultural changes on the prairies. Her life spanned a full century –1861 to 1960.
The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant persons, places, and events that have shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster understanding and reflection on the diverse histories, cultures, legacies, and realities of Canada’s past and present.
The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,200 designations have been made. To nominate a person, place or historic event in your community, please visit the Parks Canada website for more information: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/clmhc-hsmbc/ncp-pcn/application.
“Marie Rose (Delorme) Smith exemplifies the strength and resilience of Métis women and the major contributions they have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. Stories like hers demonstrate the unique lives and experiences that make up history in Canada. By commemorating the national historic significance of individuals like Marie Rose, we help to share these stories with Canadians and hope to foster better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures, and traditions.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"We are pleased to see Marie Rose (Delorme) Smith recognized as a person of national historic significance. Métis women and mothers were the backbones of our communities, and carried so much culture and knowledge for our communities. They are the unsung heroes and their stories need to be told."
Consultation Coordinator, Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3
Parks Canada is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to recognize, commemorate, and share Indigenous histories. Collaborating with numerous Indigenous groups across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places.
Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national significance of persons, places, and events that have marked Canada’s history. Together with Parks Canada, the Board ensures that subjects of national historic significance are recognized under Parks Canada’s National Program of Historical Commemoration and these important stories are shared with Canadians.
Parks Canada is committed to working with Canadians in our efforts to tell broader, more inclusive stories in the places that it manages. In support of this goal, the Framework for History and Commemoration outlines a new, comprehensive, and engaging approach to sharing Canada’s history through diverse perspectives, including shedding light on tragic and difficult periods of Canada’s past.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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