Winona Twin has eight years of experience on Sawridge First Nation council. She’s hoping to use that experience on Slave Lake town council.
Asked why she was running for town council, Twin says, “I was asked to run.”
This was by various individuals in the community.
Another reason Twin is running is negative perception of the town in the news in 2020.
There is racism in Slave Lake, says Twin. However, this is not how she wants Slave Lake to be portrayed.
“I’m still here, because I love it here,” says Twin. “I have a deep connection with the land and the lake.”
Twin grew up in Slave Lake, by the hospital. She was raised by her grandparents. Her grandmother was a member of Sawridge, but lost her treaty rights when she married a Métis man.
Twin is a member of Sawridge First Nation, but lives in Slave Lake, she says.
The boundaries of Slave Lake are complicated. Slave Lake, Sawridge, and the M.D. of Lesser Slave River all have land coming together.
Twin studied at Northern Lakes College in Slave Lake.
Going back to Twin’s connection with the land, she has worked for Sawridge since 2005. She’s worked in traditional land use and consultation. Part of this was involvement in the provincial government’s Lower Athabasca Regional plan.
The Marten Hills have unique ecosystems, says Twin. There are medicinal plants found there which are usually only found in BC.
Like many candidates in the 2021 Slave Lake election, Twin is focused on the homeless.
“My mother was the manager of the mall,” says Twin. Her mother has passed away, but she “opened up my eyes to the street people and homeless people as humans,” she adds. They treated her with respect, “because she treated them with respect.”
Twin has joined the Slave Lake Homeless Coalition.
Slave Lake homelessness has “no permanent solution,” says Twin. “Everything seems to be a Band-Aid, and now we don’t even have one.”
Twin is a single mother. She has four children – two adult and two 10-year-olds. She also has a grandson.
Before Twin had her twins, she was quite involved with the community. She was on the Youth Justice Committee, and Lakeshore Victims Services. Also, she was on Sawridge council for eight years. This included during and after the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire. Twin was involved in the creation of the Tri Council, which includes all members of the Slave Lake, Sawridge, and M.D. councils.
If Twin is elected to town council she’ll be on it again. “In a different seat – a different role,” she says.