Peter Hansen, passionate leader of McMurray Métis, passes away

McMurray Métis described Hansen as a dedicated leader and advocate for the Métis people of Fort McMurray.

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Peter Hansen, who recently stepped down as president of McMurray Métis, has died at 70. A Facebook post from McMurray Métis confirmed Hansen died on the evening of Feb. 15, and described him as a dedicated leader and advocate for the Métis people of Fort McMurray.

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Hansen was born in Fort Chipewyan. At the age of four, his family moved to Fort McMurray and settled in Waterways. According to an obituary from McMurray Métis, Hansen loved the outdoors and owned and operated a trapline in the Birch Mountains. He was an active hunter and loved taking trips on boats, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. He volunteered at the Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile dog team race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska.

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“He was passionate about inspiring others to connect to their culture and always ensured there were fun activities for the youth and children to do and be included in,” said the obituary. “Peter had great respect for the Elders as they guided him through their wisdom, knowledge and sharing of traditions.”

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Hansen was elected president in June 2022 after spending eight years as a councillor with McMurray Métis. He also served on the board of directors for the business arm of McMurray Métis, Infinity Métis Corporation.

A video posted to McMurray Métis’ Facebook page on Feb. 14 praised Hansen’s leadership shortly after he resigned as president. His successor, Kelly Myers, said she had never met a man more committed to his family or heritage.

peter hansen
Peter Hansen, president of McMurray Metis, at McMurray Metis’ Metis Fest in Fort McMurray on Friday, May 27, 2022. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

“One of the most important things I learned from President Hansen is to be humble: To be humble in the decisions that we make and to ensure that we’re making them for the right reasons,” said Myers. “Those right reasons are our membership, what’s right for our community, what’s right for the advancement of Métis people in our region.”

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Executive Director Don Scott praised Hansen for a recent deal McMurray Métis signed with Canadian Natural Resources. Scott also praised Hansen for pausing construction on the troubled Métis Cultural Centre.

“Peter’s a humble person. He wouldn’t want to take credit for anything,” said Scott. “A lot of people don’t realize what a fierce advocate he could be behind the scenes because he’s so kind up front.”

Hansen is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judy; their daughter, Emily (Ivan); son Jonathan (Vikki); grandchildren Winter, Ever, and Brigg; his brothers and sister, and his nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is predeceased by his daughter, Jodi Rae, mother Violet, and father Lloyd, and grandmother Jenny Flett. Details of a service for Hansen will be released shortly.

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