Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the twelfth nominee for the Women of Inspiration series:
Sadly, Nancy passed away in December of 2012. She is survived by her seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren; all of whom are extremely proud that Nancy is being recognized as a Woman of Inspiration.
Born and raised in Anzac, Nancy lived on a trap line with her parents, two brothers and five sisters during her early years. Her childhood was disrupted when she and her sister were sent to a residential school in Fort Chipewyan. Nancy did not see her parents for three years, and when they finally reunited at the age of eight she could not even speak her native language – having been taught only French in residential school. Although she knew in her heart that she was back where she belonged, Nancy had to relearn many of her family’s traditional ways of life.
This life altering experience is possibly where Nancy’s determination to overcome all obstacles with grace and strength may have been born. Nancy learned early that to succeed, one must never give up. She was a ‘let’s get it done’ type of lady, and this attitude served her and her community well.
In 1947 Nancy met and married Bill Woodward, a native of Saskatchewan. They were married for more than fifty years when Bill passed away in April of 2007.
Throughout her adult life Nancy opened her home to foster children, never saying no to a child in need, and at one point even welcoming eleven children at one time; all of whom she raised along with her own. At that time financial assistance wasn’t available for foster parents, so Nancy fed her family by growing her own food and trapping with her husband Bill.
Nancy learned midwifery from her aunt and over time delivered many babies in Anzac. It was long way to Fort McMurray and Nancy once said, “It was scary if you found yourself delivering a breech baby…but I never lost one!” Her pride in her accomplishments was well earned.
In addition to her work at home, and her dedication to her family and foster children, Nancy was also directly involved in the day-to-day operation of By Far Holdings; a family business that her mom and dad started.
Nancy believed whole heartedly in community, and in the importance of keeping her traditional culture alive. Nancy, along with other community women and her husband, helped build the first school in Anzac. She also taught Cree at Father Turcotte and Anzac schools; making sure that the traditional language wasn’t lost.
Nancy offered her traditional knowledge of the land to many of the developers and environmental groups who operate in the RMWB today. Although Nancy had a modest and quiet disposition, she very boldly and honestly did her part to help ensure that the land that she and her family enjoyed throughout their lives would be protected and available for her descendants to enjoy for many generations to come.
Nancy is an exceptional role model who lived her life giving back to her family and her community. She did so without ever asking for thanks, and always with a smile and a quiet dignity.
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Nancy, and eleven other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place on June 1 2013.
The Women of Inspiration Series is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude; with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers, and help create positive change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.
For more information about the Women of Inspiration series, and tickets to the celebration event, please visit our website www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org, or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.