Mariette Niquay-Ottawa

Originally from Wemotaci, Mariette Niquay-Ottawa has made Manawan her home for many years. A teacher for the last 44 years, she and her husband have three daughters, all of whom are active community and social workers. One of them, Eva Ottawa, was the grand chief of the Atikamekw Nation for more than seven years. Like her grandmother, who sat on the Council of Elders in Wemotaci in the 1950s and 60s, Mariette has served for seven years on the Council of Elders in Manawan.

The Council of Elders, a legacy of the ancestral role of women in First Nations communities, where clan mothers would gather to settle conflicts, is made up of ten citizens, men and women, who bring maternal goodwill to solve social problems.

The Council of Elders meets to help the children and teenagers of the community take charge of their lives and avoid judicial involvement. Members apply the concept of healing justice so that young people who are facing minor sentences can serve them in the community. The Council of Elders also works with parents to ensure that family cases do not end up being settled by Youth Protection.