With the close of 2010, Manitoba bid a final fond farewell to aboriginal activist Mary Richards, a Métis who died in September at age 70 from complications after a kidney transplant, according to news reports.
Dubbed “The Mayor of Main Street,” Richards was instrumental in getting the cultural and social outreach center Thunderbird House built in Winnipeg, among other accomplishments in her community. She was also a partner in the city’s first aboriginal restaurant, Bungee’s Teepee, served as executive director of the first Indian and Métis Friendship Centre and was elected to the senate of the National Association of Friendship Centres, according to the Winnipeg Press. For her efforts she received the Order of Manitoba and the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, Manitoba Province’s highest honors for community involvement.
“She always wanted us as a people to move forward,” Brian McLeod, chairman of the Thunderbird House board, told the Press, which included her in its New Year’s Eve retrospective on prominent Manitobans who had died in 2010.
Richard was also a key part of a task force examining social problems in Winnipeg’s aboriginal community, according to the CBC, and ran twice for public office at the federal and provincial levels.