PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(October 22, 2014) (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is deeply saddened by the passing of Bertha Clark Jones on October 21, 2014. She was a remarkable Métis woman who advocated for the rights and equalities of Aboriginal Peoples, served Canada as a member of the Air Force, and was one of NWAC’s founders and first President.
Bertha Clark Jones grew up no stranger to difficulties and hardship. She was raised in northern Alberta in a large family during the Great Depression. There she learned the determination and her hard work ethic from her parents and grandparents that she would later apply to advocating for human rights.
During World War II she served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Her experiences with the Canadian military led to an ongoing mission to advocate for fair treatment of Aboriginal veterans. From there it was an ongoing legacy of advancing human rights in Canada. To defend Aboriginal women, she co-founded Voice of Alberta Women (VANW) and helped steer it to represent both Status and non-Status Aboriginal women. Over time, VANW became the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and, thanks to Bertha Clark Jones, continues her legacy of advocacy and pursuit of equality for Aboriginal women in Canada. Bertha Clark Jones was recognized for her efforts to improve lives in 2007 by Indspire with a lifetime achievement award.
“She is an inspiration to all of us” NWAC President Michèle Taïna Audette said, “Bertha Clark Jones remains a model for empowered Aboriginal women, and her life is a testimony to the incredible changes we can achieve for society. Her absence is sorely missed, but we will work hard to honour her legacy of social justice.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
Claudette Dumont-Smith, Executive Director 1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 223