Irene Armstrong

I was born and raised in the area and have a good understanding of the issues we face as indigenous people as we strive to maintain our culture and balance with Mother Earth.

I grew up in a small town with my parents Cecile Soulier, and Harold Armstrong (WWII), three siblings, and a huge extended family of aunties, cousins, friends, and neighbours. We all worked hard to contribute to the family’s livelihood and growth.

After becoming a wife and a mother of two I worked in the service industry to help support my family. Education was never high on my priority list but after 20 years of dropping out I received my high school and a business administration diploma.

After several years of living in Sault Ste Marie, we returned home, and this is when my education and skills secured me a career in healthcare that lasted 20+ years.

I am an experienced Councillor with three terms behind me, and three years where I worked with the Chief and Council as their Executive Assistant. This has helped me prepare to bring the following strengths to the council:

  • I am educated and I have a variety of certificates relating to health, administration, and governance.
  • I am a realist as opposed to an idealist, I am an excellent listener and problem solver.
  • I have strong leadership, communication, and organizational skills. I currently lead a competent team of healthcare professionals overseeing all aspects of managing and operations.
  • I am a forward thinker and hold the values of integrity, family, and inclusiveness.
  • I work as a team member with professionalism, respect, and collaboration. I believe in hard work and that working as a team only makes you stronger to bring about positive change.

Over the last two years, the global pandemic and the fight against COVID-19 have brought many new challenges and have changed how we do things, from our work life to our personal life.

  • We managed to govern and hold virtual meetings during these new and uncharted times.
  • Council passed and approved the Land Use Plan and Zoning By-law.
  • Construction of new homes on reserve with more to come over the next few years.
  • Council passed the Finance Administrative By-law guiding fiscal accountability for our Nation.
  • There was great value in bringing back the Youth and Elders gathering, giving our people the opportunity to return and to gather as a community with a sense of culture and belonging.
  • The new economic development corporation continues to explore new opportunities.
  • We were honoured to have National Chief Rose Anne Archibald visit the community where I had the opportunity to advocate for health.
  • Successful recruitment increased capacity within the Band Rep, Lands and Public Works  Department. This continued with an Executive Officer, Executive Assistant, Culture Coordinator and Education Coordinator and with succession planning the Indigenous Guardian.

I believe that increasing our knowledge while remembering our past is essential to moving Michipicoten First Nation forward. We can only bring about good change by building relationships with a level head, an open mind, humor, kindness, and compassion. I will continue to work on initiatives that will benefit, grow, and preserve our citizenship.