Born in Yellowknife in 1950, Bren Kolson spent her entire live in the Northwest Territories with only a few stints in the south for her post-secondary education. She grew up in Yellowknife with Metis roots to the slave river delta and former Dene-Metis trapping community of Rocher River.
After establishing herself as a journalist and writer in the 1970’s Kolson would later serve as a strong voice for the the Tso’ Tine Rocher River people, who were re-located after the community near Fort Resolution was flooded, and it’s school burnt down in the late 1960’s.
“Im not the person to speak to that history, but Bren was a strong advocate for Metis rights, long before Metis rights were recognized,” recalled her longtime friend and fellow berry picker Lois Little.
When not mentoring her daughter, Indigenous hip-hop artist Kiera Dawn, Kolson was writing and working to bring other Indigenous writers to the North, said founding executive director of the Northwords Writer Festival Annelies Pool.
“She won our first Northwords Award in 2009,” said Pool.
Bren Kolson was 67 years old.
Her family and friends are bidding her farewell at Saint Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Yellowknife on Tuesday at 11:00am.