Photos Submitted by Colleen
Born and raised in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Colleen is a married mother of 2 fabulous girls who keep her busy! Working full time, juggling hockey and dance schedules and managing the responsibilities of living on a progressive farming operation are just a few commitments she has in addition to the volunteer hours she puts in with the Grand River Métis Council.
Colleen can trace her Métis ancestry through the Dusome-Clermont line of the historic Georgian Bay Métis Community. François Dusome worked for the Northwest Fur Company in Red River, Manitoba where he met and married his wife Françoise Clermont – a “woman of the Wild Rice Tribe”. Their ninth and youngest child Jane, married Louis Brunelle – her great, great paternal grandfather.
Unknowingly, Colleen grew up in the Métis way of life. Her father, a descendant of a commercial fisherman, was an avid hunter and fisher who introduced her to wild game and fishing on Georgian Bay. Many “shore lunches” were held on Giant’s Tomb where whole meals were cooked under the beach sand. Her family has always been connected to the water. Early family gatherings often included fiddles, guitars, “bonhomme” jiggers and of course, pea soup. Her love of cooking, canning, preserving, gardening and harvesting are often woven from the memories of her Mémères & Pépères who shared tips and tricks along the way. Having had all four grandparents until late in her 20's, she is thankful for the memories and knowledge they've imparted. A truly rare and special gift.
Colleen joined the Grand River Métis Council in June of 2016 and was elected as Women’s Representative later that same year. She is a strong advocate for Women’s Health & Wellness issues and sits on various committees and working groups which deal with the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Her experience as a Social Services Manager at the County of Wellington, has given her the ability to navigate government policy and liaison with community partners to better serve women facing crisis and in need of support. She is experienced in the areas of crisis management as it pertains to women and their children and able to approach client-centered solutions through the lens of poverty, social justice and restorative action.
In November 2020, Colleen was elected to the Métis Nation of Ontario Women's Council for Region 9. In this capacity, she will work to support the Women's Reps of all 5 councils in the Region. She is excited to be a part of this important work to move Métis women's issues forward.