Agnès Roy

Agnès Roy (née Gosselin) was a community activist and one of the first women to work for the Union national métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba (UNMSJM), the oldest Métis and Francophone organization in Manitoba, in operation since 1887. She was born in 1934 in Saint-Malo, Manitoba, the second child of 11 children.

Soon after the Second World War, Roy started accompanying her husband, Pascal Roy, to meetings of Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba. Roy was taken under the wing of Métis elder Ida Carrière, Union nationale’s long-time secretary, after her first meeting. As of 1965, Agnès Roy started helping Carrière regularly, and in 1970, she was overseeing all the organization’s publicity.

Roy officially became the organization’s secretary in 1977. She was involved from the very outset with Chalet Louis-Riel, an important low-income housing project piloted by UNMSJM in the 1960s.

During her time as secretary, she meticulously hand-typed all the minutes of meetings – ensuring the French-language diacritics were added in by hand. She was always the first to volunteer to cook or to craft whatever the organization needed for its festivities, meetings or ceremonies.

Roy was very connected to her community, ready and willing to help other organizations throughout the Franco-Manitoban community. She would reach out to other organizations when they needed help or money and, as Bernard Bocquel points out in his book Les Fidèles à Riel, she would recruit Union nationale members to help with these various causes.

Though she was not the first woman on the board of UNMSJM, it can be said that she paved the way for women in the organization. As a result, most of those who sit on the board of directors of UNMSJM are women.

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