Native elder awarded Canada’s highest honour

Nearly missed by her friends and colleagues in parts of the Canadian church among the recipients of the Order of Canada was aboriginal elder and former chair of the Anglican Church of Canada’s council for native ministries Willy Hodgson.

Listed under her given name, Christine, Ms. Hodgson received Canada’s highest honour for a lifetime of championing aboriginal and social causes. The announcement was made in early July.

Ms. Hodgson, a member of the Plains Cree nation and a psychiatric nurse by training, served the province of Saskatchewan as a social worker, rehabilitation co-ordinator and therapist and in employment counselling for Indian and MÈtis people, particularly women.

She also worked with mentally and physically disabled people and served in recent years as an native elder and facilitator with the federal government as it worked on models for alternative dispute resolution processes with former students of residential schools.

A lifetime Anglican, Ms. Hodgson also served as chair of the national church’s council for native ministries, the predecessor of the current Anglican Council of Indigenous People.

Ellie Johnson, director of partnerships at the national church office, called Ms. Hodgson “a wonderful person” and said she was a great asset in her work with the church’s aboriginal issues. As a community member of the Saskatchewan law society, she assisted the ACIP in its response to provincial law societies about the manner in which lawyers were soliciting former students of residential schools to initiate or join lawsuits.

She was a member of General Synod at Waterloo, Ont. in 2001 and was elected to the national eco-justice committee. She has been unable to attend eco-justice meetings recently due to serious illness and could not be reached for comment on the award.

Ms. Hodgson, who lives in Moose Jaw, Sask. also received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1994 and a Women of Distinction Award from Moose Jaw for her work as a community mentor in 1998.

Also among the 99 people named to the Order of Canada this year were retired Arctic bishop John Sperry, singer Joni Mitchell and architect Frank Gehry.


  • Listing for Christine Wilna
    (Willy) Hodgson on Governor General
    of Canada’s Web site
  • Listing for Christine Wilna
    (Willy) Hodgson on Government
    of Saskatchewan’s Web site
  • Canada’s highest honour awarded to former Arctic bishop
    — Journal news story

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .