LOCKER, EvelynPosted: October 12th, 2016
Maohkammoniisaki (Red Otter Woman)
EVELYN LOCKER passed away peacefully on October 5, 2016 at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia, after battling cancer for over two years.
Evelyn was born in Cardston, Alberta on February 18, 1935, to Kathleen (nee Weasel Fat) Maohkammoniisaki (Red Otter Woman) and Michael Eagle Speaker (Ootsiko’waohsoyi Buffalo Calf Tail – Misamissp Long Time Old Man). She was a member of the Nitaitsskaiksi (Lone Fighters) and Siksinnokaiksi (Black Elk) clans. Her father was born in 1903 and was from the Siksinnokaiksi Clan from the north end of the Blood Reserve. Her mother was born in 1910.
She is survived by her daughter Karon (Jay) Maclean, her grandsons Derek and Matthew, and her brother Ike (Gerri) Eagle Speaker, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Evelyn was predeceased by her husband of 55 years, Robert Locker, her parents, Michael and Kathleen Eagle Speaker, her brothers Wilfred (infant), Erby (infant) and Tyrone, her sisters Beulah (Allan) Standing Alone, Shirley (Pvt. Louie) Merrick, Byrde and Marjorie Eagle Speaker and her nephew Louis Merrick.
Evelyn’s Blackfoot name was Kaistaisiipistohkomakii, Two Owls Calling Woman. Her parents taught her, “that if you know who you are, have a sense of identity, you can get along with anybody anywhere in the world”.
Evelyn had always indicated that she would love to have her mother’s traditional name. Before her passing, Wilton Good Striker, her nephew, prayed with her and painted her with the sacred red ochre; he then gave her the name Maohkammoniisaki (Red Otter Woman).
Evelyn grew up on the Blood Reserve and attended elementary school at St. Paul’s Residential School. She found residential school “to be a real positive learning experience for me mainly because of my deep roots in my cultural and spiritual upbringing. I learned that you have to work with the good in life as well as the bad because it is the good in life that teaches you how to deal with the bad and we become a better person for it.”
After graduation from Cardston High School in 1953, Evelyn attended Hendersons Business College in Calgary, graduating with honours. While attending college, she was awarded the distinction of being chosen the 1954 Calgary Stampede Queen. It was the first time in the history of the Stampede that a First Nations woman competed for the title, and Evelyn remains the only First Nations woman to hold that title.
While working at Shell Oil in Calgary, Evelyn met her husband Robert, and they were married September 7, 1957. Shortly after that, she and her husband moved to Vancouver, where their daughter was born in 1958. The family returned to Calgary in 1961, then moved to Regina in 1966, to Winnipeg in 1972, and then in 1974 they returned to British Columbia, settling in Surrey.
Evelyn’s working career spanned 46 years in both private and public sectors in various capacities, including stenographer-bookkeeper, secretary and finance clerk. Evelyn was the Executive Director of the Regina Indian Friendship Centre Society and Administrator of the National Indian and Arts Crafts Society. Evelyn spent 25 of her years of service working for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in both Winnipeg and Vancouver. Among the many varied positions she held, she was an Indian Registry Officer and she helped many First Nations across Canada acquire their Indian status under Bill C-31. During her last 10 years with INAC, Evelyn worked as a Senior Estates Officer in Lands and Trust Services.
Since retiring in June 2002 at age 65, Evelyn remained active in the aboriginal community in a First Nations Elder advisory capacity at various locations, including the Surrey Aboriginal Cultural Society, the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver, and the Simon Fraser University Elders Program, including serving on three SFU committees. She also served on the Aboriginal Nursing Program Committee at the Kwantlen Polytechnical University in Surrey. Evelyn volunteered with the Provincial Ministry of Child/Family Development by attending Family Group Conferences and Mediation for aboriginal families, as well as volunteering with the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, Circle of Elders at the Klahoweya Aboriginal Centre in Surrey, and the S.T.A.R. Elders, supporting the continuing healthy growth of aboriginal children in care.
Evelyn was well known in the pow wow community, both as a Champion traditional dancer, and as a part of the drum group The Blood Travellers, singing along with the core group which consisted of her sister Byrde and her nephews Dwayne and Terry. She also sang with many other drum groups such as Old Agency, Kaispa Singers, Big Corner Post, and Sundance singers. Evelyn will be sadly missed by her family and many friends. She will be forever remembered for her love and kindness, and sharing her traditional knowledge and practice.
A Wake Service will be at the Senator Gladstone Hall, Blood Reserve on Wednesday, October 12th from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. The Funeral Service will be at the Senator Gladstone Hall, Blood Reserve on Thursday, October 13th at 11:00 a.m. Interment in St. Paul’s Cemetery.
Send condolences to:www.legacyfuneralhome.ca