Remembering Métis Matriarch, Laura McLaughlin
On behalf of the Métis Nation of Alberta, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Laura McLaughlin on Monday April 5th 2021. She was not only a great friend, but a Métis Matriarch, a lady who gave so much to the Nation. Mere words cannot express how much she meant to us, and how grateful we all are for all she has done for the Nation.
Laura leaves us with her legacy as a renowned clothing designer in Edmonton, where she ran a successful home-based business featuring custom Indigenous clothing and accessories for many years. Laura will always be remembered by those who adorn her beautiful Ribbon Shirts. She sewed her pride and love into each outfit that she made. I am proud to say I own many and wear them with Pride! When you look around at any Métis function, you will see her beautiful ribbon shirts instantly recognized by the quality and craftsmanship. She took a lot of pride in her work and it truly showed. Laura also trained with a Master Weaver who taught her the skills of the loom. Once she had mastered the craft, there were no Métis Sashes anywhere that could compare to the beautiful, weaved Sashes she made. Her ribbon shirts and weaving were recognized by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, and the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. Her beautiful work is also on display at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. Her designs even made it to Top Chef Canada!
Laura has received the City of Edmonton Art and Culture Award, the Aboriginal Role Model Award and an Esquao Award! In 2014, the Métis Nation of Alberta recognized her with the Provincial Recognition Award at our Annual General Assembly. In 2018, Laura received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Métis Nation Annual Business Mixer Awards.
Laura attended many Assemblies for years, both Nationally and Provincially. Her husband, Curly, and granddaughter Sarah, regularly travelled with her and assisted with setting up and selling her wares. Laura always said, “It was great fun travelling with them.” Whenever we needed a gift for someone special, she was the first person we would turn to, and if she did not have it, she would make it. These were usually one-of-a-kind designs, that she would never reproduce, which made them so very special.
Laura has always been proud of her Métis heritage and instilled this pride in her work, in her children, in her grandchildren and her everyday life. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her, and by those she touched with the kind donations of beautiful work.
Our very heartfelt condolences go out to her family, her husband Curly, all her children and grandchildren. She was a great lady, a great friend, and her presence here will be missed, but never forgotten.
President, Métis Nation of Alberta
As they mourn the loss of their mother, grandmother, wife and friend, the family of Laura McLaughlin have asked for privacy at this time. Please allow them the space they need to honour her memory.