Verna J. Kirkness

Fisher River Cree Nation
Inaugural Director of FNHL (1985-1993)

Verna J. Kirkness

Verna Jane Kirkness is a Fisher River Cree Nation and inaugural director of FNHL (1985-1993). She is a pioneer and lifelong proponent of indigenous language, culture and education who has been influential in Canadian indigenous education policy and practice. She joined as a Director of NITEP in 1981 and established the First Nations House of Learning administrative unit, Wii-Ax. She led the fundraising campaign efforts for the building of the First Nations Longhouse and X̱wi7x̱wa library.
Kirkness has received numerous awards for her outstanding contributions spanning five decades including the Order of Canada in 1998, Order of Manitoba in 2007 and Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003. She is the author of “numerous books and articles on the history of Indigenous education.”

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