An entrepreneur, organizer, youth worker and leader in the Wemotaci First Nations reserve, Lisanne engages with the people around her for the well-being of her community.
She was born in May 1983, the youngest of nine children in a family of modest means. Her father was a forestry worker. After graduating from the local high school, Lisanne, who was interested in science and technology, enrolled in the medical laboratory program at CÉGEP de Saguenay. An internship at a company prompted her to switch tracks and study accounting techniques in the same region.
Following her return to Wemotaci, she had her first child in 2003. Today, she’s married with three children, Heilleen (age 17), Wayne, (age 14) and Laudélia (age 10), while continuing to fulfill multiple professional and community commitments in Wemotaci and elsewhere in Quebec.
She acquired a taste for community engagement while working at her first jobs at local businesses and in the daycare sector. This led to the development of her planning and project management skills.
Lisanne later became attracted to the culinary arts, and in 2013 and 2014, she completed a pastry program at a vocational school in Trois-Rivières, where she moved with her family. “I’m grateful to our hosts and the city’s school system for making us feel welcome and providing a high-quality learning environment for my children,” she says.
The kitchen is a place where this young woman enjoys experimenting and creating. In 2019, she pursued her pastry training further at the École d’Alimentation et d’Hôtellerie Bel-Avenir in Trois-Rivières, while at the same time studying supply chain management at CÉGEP de Trois-Rivières. Maybe one day we’ll see her in charge of her own upscale restaurant...
As someone who has worked in the childcare sector, Lisanne understands the importance of children’s needs. She turned to grassroots political action as the ideal means of improving matters for youth (ages 1 to 19), who represent 43% of Wemotaci’s population. In 2014, she was elected to the Atikamekw Council in Wemotaci and assigned the economic development portfolio, which enabled her to take advantage of her connections with youth and her administrative skills while fulfilling her desire to serve her community.
As one of the councillors in charge of the youth portfolio, she contributed to the organization of the provincial Inter-Band Indigenous Games in 2019. She oversaw the creation of the Centre des Chefs du Territoire (Territory Chiefs Centre), a venue where the 13 territory chiefs and 26 family chiefs can meet to make decisions. She also approved a partnership agreement (2016-2020) between the Wemotaci Atikamekw Council and the Rémabec Group aimed at developing the local workforce and creating skilled jobs. This enabled the community to set up various training programs in Wemotaci.
Managing and supporting large-scale projects and events is all in a day’s work for Lisanne. These include: establishing a dedicated multi-sport training program for youth in the community of Wemotaci; organizing community expeditions on the Tapiskwan Sipi (St-Maurice River) in 2016, 2017 and 2018; organizing a provincial benefit gala for the Inter-Band Indigenous Games in 2017; and running fundraising campaigns in her community. She recently launched a traditional shoe company, MiskiZann, where she makes moose-hide boots, moccasins and mittens with local artisans, drawing on ancestral knowledge passed on by her elders and family members, including her late aunt Madeleine Boivin.
Lisanne is a woman of conviction who believes in the development of community spirit, co-existence of First Nations and non-native peoples, and sharing among communities. “Land use issues will always exist. That requires respect for ancestral rights by all users, both indigenous and non-indigenous,” she remarks. “It also entails an obligation to develop forest resources in a sustainable manner. Nature provides us with everything we need to live. It must be respected. We have a duty to preserve biodiversity.”
Finally, she shares the values that guide her life, which she sums up with the following statements: “Respect your elders. Seize the opportunities that are presented to you. Accept others and learn to live together, despite the difficulties that may arise.”