A life-long resident of Northwestern Ontario, Mary Alice Smith was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council Board of Directors in May 2016.
Mary Alice has spent four decades working with organizations and First Nations in Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Treaty 3 and Robinson-Superior territories, her Metis home lands. Over these years, Mary Alice has worked and volunteered with numerous organizations including the Kenora Anishinaabe Kweg Aboriginal Women’s Organization, Saakaate Women’s Shelter, the Kenora Race Relations Committee, and the Anishinaabe Peace and Justice Coalition. She is a founding member of Biindigen Women’s Shelter in Thunder Bay, the Sioux Lookout First Step Women’s Shelter, the Sioux Lookout Community Legal Clinic, and Oshki-Ayaa’aag Mino Bimaadiziiwin (Good Life for Young Peoples), a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to bringing to life the dreams of Aboriginal youth in Ontario.
In 1997, Mary Alice completed a B.A. at the University of Winnipeg, where she was honoured with the President’s Gold Medals in Conflict Resolution Studies and Political Science.
Mary Alice is an Elder with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and a freelance consultant and writer. She is also a certified mediator and life skills coach. A mother and stepmother of nine and now ‘gookom’ (grandmother) and ‘gobis’ (great grandmother) in an ever expanding circle, Mary Alice lives on Longbow Lake, near Kenora.