Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Old Crow Anglican minister Bruce dies

From The Yukon-

Rev. Ellen Bruce, the first northern aboriginal woman to be ordained in the Anglican church, died at her home in Old Crow, Yukon, on Saturday. She was 98 years old.

Bruce, who was born in 1911 in northern Yukon, was known for her community service and her dedication to keeping the Gwich'in language alive. She led church services in Old Crow, and across Canada's North, in Gwich'in and English.

"She was this absolute gem, just so kind and sweet, and her humility has taught us so much," Chief Joe Linklater of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow told CBC News.

"Being the reverend that ran our church in the Gwich'in language, that was really so important to everybody."

Bruce was ordained in 1987, making her the first northern native woman to become an Anglican minister.

She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1991 for her efforts to sustain and promote "the cultural integrity of the Vuntut Gwitchin for over 50 years, helping them adapt from camp life to community life."

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