Remembering Maurina Beadle, the Mi’kmaw woman who fought Canada on Jordan’s Principle and won

Maurina Beadle
Maurina Beadle drumming to her son Jeremy at home in Pictou Landing First Nation, Beadle died this week at the age of 63. APTN file

Maurina Beadle, a mother from Pictou Landing First Nation who took Canada to court over Jordan’s Principle and won in an effort to help her disabled son, has died.

Beadle, 63, died of a stroke Wednesday in hospital.

“Maurina Beadle was, first and foremost, a loving mother to her two boys so it was no surprise that she said ‘no way’ when Canada told her to place her youngest son in an institution because of his high special needs while she recovered from a stroke,” said Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, who supported Beadle in her battle with the federal government.

Beadle’s son Jeremy suffered from multiple health issues and needed around the clock care.

The government proposed that Jeremy be institutionalized in order to receive that care.

But Beadle said no. Instead, she tried to get services through Jordan’s Principle, a program the government was forced to implement in order to offer First Nations children living on reserve the same medical services offered to children off-reserve.

When Beadle turned to Canada for help, the answer was ‘no’.

Watch: Maurina Beadle starts her fight with Canada

Her case landed in Federal Court, where a judge agreed Canada had a duty to help pay for the medical care Jeremy needed at home.

“That legal precedent foreshadowed the finding by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that has sparked the delivery of over a quarter million Jordan’s Principle products and services,” Blackstock added.

Beadle was the subject of Alanis Obamsawin’s National Film Board documentary We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice.

According to her obituary, Beadle received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 1952-2012, and a plaque from Pictou Landing recognizing her hard work in the Jordan’s Principle case.

“I remember sitting in her living room, listening to her drum for her son Jeremy,” said APTN Investigates Correspondent Trina Roache, who reported on Beadle’s fight with Canada. “She cared so deeply for him and was so devoted to his care. Her world revolved around Jeremy and I was always struck by her selflessness.

“Maurina was a special spirit. A beautiful mother. And a fighter who held the Canadian Government to account. She helped change the reality for Indigenous families impacted by Jordan’s Principle.”

Read More: 

APTN News – Maurina Beadle 

Along with Jeremy, Beadle is survived by her son Jonavon, who also lives in Pictou Landing.

According to Blackstock, the family is talking about who will now care for Jeremy.

Maurina will be buried on Monday.

“No matter what came her way, Maurina never complained, she had another plan. To fix things and make sure everyone, including her sons, had the TLC they deserved,” said Blackstock.

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