Jean Folster

(1922-1994)

Jean Folster was not only a trailblazer she was ahead of her time in a time and place dominated by men. She remains an inspiration to her family, community and First Nations women everywhere. Today her legacy continues through the Jean Folster Place – Norway House Cree Nation Shelter for women experiencing violence. Folster, daughter of trapper James York, was born in 1922 in Norway House Cree Nation. In 1941, she married Billy Folster and they had eight children. Her husband died in 1954 and she worked to support her eight children through sewing. In the late 1960s she started the first local child and family services agency in a First Nations community. In 1967 she was elected to Norway House band council as the social assistance officer. In 1971 she beat out three male candidates to become the Chief of Norway House Cree Nation. She served in this role until 1975. Folster then served as a provincial magistrate from 1973 to about 1980. She died at Norway House on the 26th of December 1994.

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