Drummers, dancers welcome B.C.’s 1st female aboriginal MLA to legislature

By The Canadian Press
February 17, 2016 - 2:06pm Updated: February 17, 2016 - 5:38pm

VICTORIA — Drummers and dancers welcomed British Columbia’s first aboriginal woman elected to the legislature in an emotional ceremony that saw Melanie Mark wiping away tears.

Mark is one of two New Democrats who won byelections earlier this month.

Jodie Wickens was elected in the suburban Vancouver riding of Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and Mark was elected in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.

Mark wore her grandmother’s traditional red and black button blanket to the ceremony that included welcoming songs from the Nisga’a Nation from B.C.’s northwest.

B.C. has previously elected two male aboriginal members, Frank Calder and Larry Guno, while current Victoria New Democrat Carole James and former Liberal Marc Dalton are Metis.

Legislature Clerk Craig James says the addition of Mark and Wickens increases B.C.’s female representation in legislature to 38 per cent, the highest in Canada.

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