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Shirley Bear

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Name  Shirley Bear

Books  Virgin Bones
Shirley Bear A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada Artist Shirley Bear

Shirley Bear (born May 16, 1936) is a Tobique First Nation artist, traditional herbalist, poet and activist. She is an original member of the Wabnaki language group of New Brunswick.


Shirley Bear ottawa poetry newsletter Shirley Bear Mark Truscott in the A B Series


The daughter of Susan Paul-Bear and Noel Bear Jr., she was born on the Negootgook reserve in New Brunswick, attended the Collège Maillet in Saint-Basile and went on to study photography and painting in New Hampshire. In 1968, she received a Ford Foundation fellowship.

Her work has appeared in exhibitions at the Clement Cormier Gallery in Moncton, at the Restigouche Gallery in Campbellton, at the Université Saint-Louis in Edmundston and the Connexion Gallery in Fredericton, as well as in group exhibitions in Canada and the United States. Her work is included in the collections of the New Brunswick Art Bank, the National Indian Art Centre, the University of Moncton, and the Canadian Museum of History's permanent collection.

In 1990, she was curator for a touring exhibition of art by native women, Changers: A Spiritual Renaissance.

She was the subject of a short National Film Board film Minqwon Minqwon by Catherine Martin which was produced in 1990. She was the subject of a short National Film Board film Mingwon Mingwon by Catherine Martin which was produced in 1990. Bear advocates for work to be done in attaining the peaceful existence that existed between men and women in North America before the arrival of the Europeans.

In 2011, she was named to the Order of Canada.


Shirley Bear has been a longtime advocate for the rights of Indigenous women. In 1980, Bear became involved with the Tobique Women's Group, starting with activities at the Big Cove Reserve involving the unjust treatment of single mothers and housing. Later in the year, Bear was invited the Tobique Women's Group to participate in a meeting of Aboriginal women interested in establishing a political body that would represent Indigenous women from the Canadian province of New Brunswick.


  • Nine Micmac Legends, Alden Nowlan; Illustrations: Shirley Bear
  • Enough is Enough (1987)
  • Everywoman’s Almanac (1991)
  • The Colour of Resistance (1993)
  • Kelusultiek (1994)
  • virgin bones (2006)
  • References

    Shirley Bear Wikipedia

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