Gwen Bear was born on the Tobique First Nation. Nekutkuk to her because she grew up in her language, a gift that still keeps giving.
The Native perspective is so much more important to her today than when she was younger. As a teacher, it gave her the skills to share the knowledge of holistic ways.
She married in 1970 and moved to Massachusetts where she lived for 10 years. When she returned to Tobique, an Elder advised her to go to Fredericton and attend university. Despite the hardships of being the single parent of three children, she achieved two degrees from Saint Thomas University: a BA in Native Studies and English, and a BEd. Shortly after graduation, she was elected President of 'NB Native Womens Council'. It opened up a new world and many opportunities with the 'Native Womens Association of Canada'.
During this time, Gwen also taught the Native Art Study program at the NB College of Craft & Design. For a few years, she also taught her language at STU part-time. Something had to give, so she gave up the women's organizations. In 2006, she retired from NBCCD after 18 rewarding years. By then, seven grandchildren were in her life and any ideas of returning home were given up. Now, she has three great-grandchildren to also keep her in Fredericton.
Presently, Gwen holds the position of 'Elder' in Residence at the University of New Brunswick. She's also enrolled in the Masters program in the Faculty of Education. She volunteers on many committees and participates in as many cultural events as possible.
She has been appointed by the province to serve as Board member of the NB Museum.
In addition to this busy life, Gwen carries three pipes. She is a spiritual leader who performs ceremonies, healings, and fasts.