Ray Fox is a man who has worn many hats. Many today will know him as one of North Battleford’s city councilors, a role he has filled since 2003.
Others might know him as the Director of Justice for the Battlefords Tribal Council Professional Services Corporation. Or maybe as the host of the Moccasin Telegraph. Or as an actor.
Originally from Sweetgrass First Nation, Ray Fox only returned to North Battleford fairly recently, in 1995. Despite not finishing high school, Fox has played a large number of important roles for local First Nations. He is currently the Saskatchewan senator for the National Association of Friendship Centres. He also served for ten years as the president and CEO of the Native Communications Society in Canada, the forerunner of APTN.
He has also been greatly involved in criminal justice in the Battlefords. After North Battleford was allowed to make a twenty-minute presentation at a provincial meeting at Jackfish Lodge about their problems with crime, Fox was one of those contacted to become a representative for local First Nations. Thanks to that participation, he became involved in a variety of justice programs, including a successful program to reduce domestic violence. The group coordinating the domestic violence program, including Fox, was awarded a Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.
He has also worked with the Prairie Employment program, which helps a variety of people who have had trouble finding work for various reasons seek employment.
His work has also been cultural, as he has served on the Fort Battleford advisory committee and maintains the Wandering Spirit gravesite there. His work has helped educate the public and redeem Wandering Spirit himself, who was ignobly hanged for his role in the Fort Battleford siege. He has also worked as the coordinator for National Aboriginal Awareness Week, and a large variety of other cultural initiatives for First Nations people.
Fox received a singular honour in 2002, as he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. Awarded for citizens who made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada over the previous fifty years, Fox and several others in the community were surprised by Senator Herb Sparrow and an impromptu award ceremony.
Recently though, Fox received another award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Awarded for the same reasons as the Golden Jubilee Medal but considered more prestigious, the medal had also been awarded to Dean Bauche of Battleford a few months ago.
Fox’s overriding emotion upon receiving the award? Surprise.
“At first it was a surprise…they started calling some names and they were handing out these medals. The next thing I knew I’d been given one of them. It feels really really good for somebody outside my community to recognize my contribution to my community.”
Fox hopes that his medal helps the community, which has its fair share of problems right now.
“I know right now that our youth are in trouble. They don’t know how to be First Nations, they don’t know what it means. They need role models who can show them that they can do it. It’s in that capacity that I can shake this medal around.”