Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Shirley B. Olson (c1944-1990)

Lawyer, Indigenous rights activist.

Born on the Peguis First Nation around 1944, daughter of Gordon Olson and Mable Agnes Olson, she was educated at residential schools in Brandon, Birtle, and Dauphin; University of Manitoba (where she studied Arts), and University of British Columbia (where she studied Law). She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1986 and specialized in family law. Always concerned for Indigenous rights, she became Executive Director of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in 1989. She collapsed during a demonstration on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature and died the following day at the St. Boniface Hospital, on 11 September 1990.

See also:

Woodsworth House Honours Shirley Olson and Phil Fontaine by Karen Botting and Ruth Swan
Manitoba History, Number 22, Autumn 1991


“Work-related stress linked to death of native activist,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 September 1990, page 4.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1990, page 43.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 November 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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