Wheeler, Bernelda Winona (1937-2005)

Bernelda Wheeler was born on April 8, 1937, at Muskopetung. She lived on the Gordon First Nation Reserve until 1946, when her family moved to Manitoba. She attended Birtle and Brandon residential schools and graduated in 1955 from Churchill Public High School. She first worked in radio as an announcer for CBC Northern Service, and later returned to CBC radio, gaining recognition for her work on “Our Native Land” as a host, producer, and investigative documentary journalist. Referred to as the First Lady of Native Broadcasting, she received a special award for Native Broadcasting in Canada (1982). In the late 1960s she had also turned to journalism, writing for newspaper columns in western Canada including three regular columns for EagleFeather News. She also published many short stories and poetry, and was best known for her children’s books. In 1983, Wheeler began theatre acting, and was a member of the Sage Ensemble theatre group. Wheeler died on September 10, 2005.

Daria Coneghan