Venice Auger worked at the Friendship Centre many years ago. She returned to be the Seniors Outreach Coordinator in February of this year.
Auger was born in Slave Lake, but grew up in the East Prairie Métis Settlement south of the western end of Lesser Slave Lake.
“The eight Alberta Métis Settlements are the only government-recognized Métis land base in Canada,” says the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.
“Comprising 512,121 hectares, the settlements are located in east-central and northern Alberta. These settlements emerged from the activism of Métis political leaders in the 1920s and ’30s who were concerned about the social plight of landless Métis who struggled to feed their families.”
Three of the eight settlements – East Prairie, Peavine and Gift Lake – are less than an hour from High Prairie. Paddle Prairie, the northernmost settlement, was in the news in May because of houses lost to the big fire by High Level.
Both Métis and Native culture are very important to Auger. Since childhood, she’s been exposed toe Métis culture. As an adult she became involved in and continues to learn about Native culture.
“I just found it interesting,” she says. “I have this drive to learn about people.”
Auger moved to Slave Lake in 1999 and has lived here since.
“I love Slave Lake,” she says. “To be community oriented. It’s what I’ve become since being here. It’s nice to see the same people every day. To me Slave Lake is like a big family. Businesses and stuff like that, once they know you they watch out for you.”
She’s passionate about community involvement.
“I’ll walk,” Auger says. “I meet up with some people and most times I start talking with them.”
Auger’s past jobs include work with people with addictions, youth support, and as a cook.
Auger applied for the job because she loves seniors, wants the best for them and to give them all the support they need.
“I see a lot of them on my own time,” Auger says. “I was volunteering. I saw that they needed help. They had no person to talk to.”
Since she’s been working at the centre she says, “there’s good positive change – more interested seniors.”
Every week, the Friendship Centre offers the Elders’ Wisdom Circle on Mondays and Seniors’ Drop in Wednesdays both from 1 to 3 p.m. Senior’s Drop is games, crafts or visitors. Auger also has helps people with paper work on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. She is available Monday to Friday during business hours. Friday the centre closes at 3:30.
Auger organizes one big trip or event a month. In August, the seniors went to Heritage Fest in Edmonton on August 5.