'It happened today, and it happened to Peter'

Tonda MacCharles profiles the new Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The remarkable journey of Innu leader Peter Penashue—the first First Nations person to achieve a full-fledged position at the federal cabinet table—began with sobriety. As a young man, Penashue battled twin demons common in his native Labrador Naskapi Indian community. Sexually abused as a youth by a priest from Ontario, he drank too much, and despaired that things would ever change.

At 26, Penashue woke up “really hung-over” and alone on his son’s sixth birthday. He had a moment of clarity. Nothing would change for his family unless he did. The father of four set out to do just that.

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