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Manitoba MLAs honoured as first First Nations women in cabinet

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Two Manitoba cabinet ministers have been honoured by the Indigenous community for their place in history.

MLAs Bernadette Smith and Nahanni Fontaine were the guests of honour at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Sunday afternoon. The two have been named as cabinet ministers in the new session of the Manitoba legislative assembly.

Smith is Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness, while Fontaine is Minister of Families.

They are the first First Nations women to be appointed as ministers within the government of Manitoba, and were honoured as such by members of Winnipeg's Indigenous community.

"Never did I ever think that this would be something that I would ever see in my lifetime, let alone see my sister and I here today," said Smith.

Fontaine and Smith took part in a drum circle at the event, and were presented with starblankets and gifts in recognition of their accomplishments and leadership in the community.

Fontaine thanked those bestowing the honour, "I think it is something extraordinary to be lifted up and acknowledged as a matriarch by the matriarchs in our community," she said.

"This means a lot to me," said Smith. "I will work really hard for our community each and every day, and I take this responsibility as a sacred responsibility."

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