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Memorable Manitobans: Jean Folster (1922-1994)

Indigenous leader, community activist.

Born in 1922, the daughter of trapper James York, she was raised and educated at Norway House Cree Nation. In 1941, she married Billy Folster and they had eight children. Her husband died in 1954 so she supported 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 social assistance officer and, in 1971, she defeated three male candidates to become the Chief of Norway House Cree Nation, serving until 1975. She served as a provincial magistrate from 1973 to about 1980. She died at Norway House on 26 December 1994.


“First woman chief worked tirelessly for community,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 December 1994, page 18.

This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 January 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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