On June 8, 2020, our community lost someone very dear to many people, Ms. Margaret McDonald.
Margaret was the great-granddaughter of Mary Paul, who lived at Wigwam Point, which is near the mouth of the Exploits River in Peterview, NL. Before her passing, Chief Nellie Power and Margaret’s daughter, Linda Langdon, was preparing to acknowledge her and her empowering spirit. In her honour, we what to share those words and recognize this strong Mi’kmaw women who was loved by so many. The following words were written by Linda and Chief Power:
“What do 95-year-old elders do? They empower all those that they meet.
Margaret F McDonald is one of those people. She is a founding member of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and a long-standing member of the Sple’tk Band in Central Newfoundland and Labrador. Margaret is also a founding member of the Qalipu Band.
Margaret has always known her ancestry, her father (Frank Beaton) was a big influence in her upbringing. Her father made sure that she knew and understood about the land, how to hunt for food and know what was editable in the forest, to set slips for rabbits, clean, cook, gather, and to only take what was needed. Margaret instilled all these things in her own family both girls and boys even taking her grandchildren on excursion on the land and water. Margaret still has a big love for the land and nature. Never missing a gathering at Wigwam Point, sharing her Mi’kmaq culture in her home town of Norris Arm at the Heritage Festival each year, not to mention twice a month to meet with the Exploits Drummers to do what women have done for centuries, “to sit in a circle, to share, talk, drum and sing”.
One of her favourite moments was when she received her regalia and drum at the age of 80 years and was very honoured to walk in the Grand Entry at the Powwow in Conne River held each year.
She has been interviewed a number of times by those who wanted to share her knowledge with others. She has been involved in Moon Ceremonies, Elders Feasts, was Water Ceremonies but most of all listening and learning both young and old alike can learn from each other.”
Margaret will be missed by many, and while she may not walk with us in-person, her spirit is with us and will continue to empower and inspire those who were fortunate to know her.