Amy Clemons, the great-great granddaughter of Chief Peguis was a perennial driving force behind the Friendship Centre Movement in Selkirk, Manitoba. A Friendship Centre original, Amy was the Selkirk Friendship Centre’s first Executive Director and helped establish the society from infancy to stability until her retirement in 1973. She was born and grew up near St. Peter’s, Manitoba. Five of her school years were spent in a residential school in Elkhorn, Manitoba.
In May, 1970, Mrs. Amy Clemons was named “Women of the Year” by the Women’s Advertising and Sales Club of Manitoba. Shortly after that, Governor General Roland Michener announced she was a recipient of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour. It is our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement.
In 1972, Selkirk Mayor Frank Malis presented Mrs. Clemons with an Honorary Citizens award at a surprise party in recognition of her many contributions for community service.
While involved with the Friendship Centre and community events, Amy took a leading role in several Manitoba Centennial events and was called upon to greet the Queen and Royal family on behalf of the descendants of Chief Peiguis.
She was one of the original staff members of the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre (IMFC) in Winnipeg and remained with the IMFC for more than six years before being named Executive Director of the Selkirk Friendship Centre in 1968.
Mrs. Clemons always thought one of the most important functions of the Friendship Centre was to provide a place for her people to gather. She recognized when they did gather – strangers or local people – that they could find people to talk to in their own language, offer advice, or just help them to find jobs or homes.
She was President of the Women’s Auxiliary, St. Peter’s, Dynevor for many years and received her life membership from that group in 1953. For many years, she was the organist in the Old St. Peter’s Church.
Amy Clemons was also an actress. The CBC made a film called “Death of a Nobody” based on an incident in Saskatchewan where an Aboriginal boy was murdered by some non-Aboriginal boys and nothing was done about it. Mrs. Clemons played the part of the murdered boy’s mother.
Her and husband Bill resided in Betel Home in Selkirk, Manitoba until her passing into the Spirit World.
Mrs. Amy Clemons is truly one of our cherished Pioneers of the Friendship Centre Movement and is remembered and revered as one of our original Spirits of Friendship.