“Willy” Hodgson was a psychiatric nurse, social worker, church worker and Cree elder, who rose from humble beginnings to become an influential bridge builder between the province’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
She was born Christine Wilna Pratt on October 20, 1935, on the Sandy Lake (now Ahtahkakoop) Indian Reserve west of Canwood, Saskatchewan. After living on various air force bases in Quebec and Alberta, she settled in Moose Jaw in 1967 with her husband, Bill Hodgson, and their four children. In the 1970s she studied social work and human justice at the University of Regina, then worked as a social worker with the provincial government, and later helped coordinate Native employment programs.
She was active in groups as diverse as the Interprovincial Association of Native Employment, victim services and race relations committees, and the Anglican Church’s council for Native ministries. In 1996 the Saskatchewan government appointed her to the Law Society of Saskatchewan as a laybencher. Her awards included a Women of Distinction Award from the City of Moose Jaw in 1998, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1994, and the Order of Canada in 2002. She died of cancer in Moose Jaw on February 14, 2003.