The Honourable Ethel Blondin-Andrew was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1988, as the Member of Parliament for Western Arctic. She was re-elected in 1993 and was appointed Secretary of State for Training and Youth, making her the first Aboriginal woman to become a member of the Privy Council and Cabinet.
Throughout her political career, Ms. Blondin-Andrew has been a strong advocate for Aboriginal people, children, youth and persons with disabilities. She has raised awareness and worked actively on many initiatives and issues, including: the inclusion of Aboriginal communities in the development of national, regional and local labour market programs.
Ms. Blondin-Andrew graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree before returning to the Northwest Territories to teach in several northern communities.
Prior to being elected to public office, she worked as an Aboriginal language and curriculum specialist, a college instructor, and National Manager of Indigenous Development Programs.
She received an honorary doctorate from Brock University in June 2001 acknowledging her work and efforts for Canada’s Aboriginal communities.
A Treaty Dene from the Dene Nation, Ms. Blondin-Andrew’s mother tongue is Dene-Slavey. Ms. Blondin-Andrew is married to Leon Andrew and has three children – Troy, Tanya and Tim.