Clark-Jones, Bertha

Bertha Clark-Jones (nee Houle) was born in 1922 in Clear Hills, Alberta, the fifth of 14 children in a Cree Métis family. After receiving as much schooling as possible (up to Grade 9), she worked at a nearby hospital carrying out general duties.

In 1940, she volunteered to join the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 18. She became a Physical Training and Drill Instructor - a good fit for the self-proclaimed tomboy. In this position, Clark-Jones travelled the country, working in various bases. She was disappointed that she never got to serve overseas, but none-the-less, it was her experience in the military that inspired her to later advocate for the fair treatment of Aboriginal Veterans.

However, it was her advocacy for Aboriginal women that seemed to be her main passion. During the 60s and 70s, Bertha campaigned to decrease the marginalization that aboriginal women still faced. In 1968, she co-founded the Voice of Alberta Native Women’s Society. Later on, she became the co-founder and first president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

For her years of leadership and advocacy work, Clark-Jones was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation in 2007. The following year, she became an officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her lifelong work in the area of Social Service. She continued to be a trailblazer for Aboriginal women’s and veteran’s rights until she was well into her 80s. She died October 21, 2014.

Further Reading

  • Buehler, Clint. “Lifetime Achievement Award Recognizes Many Contributions of Bertha Clark Jones” in First Nations Drum, Feb. 28, 2007. Retrieved Feb. 19, 2016
  • Edmonton Journal. “Lifetime of leadership recognized” March. 16, 2007. Retrieved Feb. 19, 2016
Biographical Record
Full Name Clark-Jones, Bertha
Heritage Chipewyan
Band Location Athabasca, AB
Sex female
Birth Date 1922-11-06
Birthplace Clear Hills, AB
Conflict WWII
CEF Unit Women's Division
CEF Branch RCAF
Medal awarded Golden Jubilee Medal
Veterans’ Land Grants reference number 1946-1957 (LAC RG10-B-3-e-xvi)
Identifier 1983