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SHIRLEY (MALCOLM) FONTAINE (The Thunderbird Who Speaks Once Woman) Obituary pic

SHIRLEY (MALCOLM) FONTAINE (The Thunderbird Who Speaks Once Woman)

Born: Jun 09, 1958

Date of Passing: Apr 26, 2019

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Kah Beh Zhi Gway Dung Pinehsee Kwe
(The Thunderbird Who Speaks Once Woman)
June 9, 1958 - April 26, 2019

On April 26, 2019, Shirley (Malcolm) Fontaine passed away in the hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, surrounded by her family and loved ones.
Her love and legacy lives on through her sons, Brennan (Leona) Manoakeesick and Curtis Manoakeesick; stepdaughters, Tricia-Lee (Nick) Roulette and Tara (Isaac) Fontaine; beloved grandsons, Kisis Angeconeb and Isaiah Star-Manoakeesic and granddaughters, Essence and Nicki Roulette; father Arthur Malcolm (Marlene); siblings, Sharon (Doug) Shuttleworth, Stephen (Elizabeth), Mike (Bonnie), Al (Lorraine), Bev, Marcel (Treasure) and Blaine (Mary); numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives, and friends; father and mother-in-law, Stanford and Lillian Fontaine; in-laws, Brenda, Warren (Bonnie), Donna, Merv, Ron, Rhonda (Frank) and Sheila (Dean); uncle Norman (Verdine); and aunts, Sandra (Dennis), Rose, Agnes and Freda.
She was predeceased by her husband Earl Fontaine; mother Lillian; grandparents, Katherine and John Malcolm, Jerry and Louisa Monkman; brother Wayne Malcolm; aunties, Agnes Beaulieu, Freda Pockett and Breena Monkman; uncles, Patrick Malcolm, Norman, Johnny, Jimmy and Dan Monkman, and Frankie Desjarlais.
Shirley was raised in Ebb and Flow First Nation, Manitoba. She attended Ebb and Flow Day School, graduated from St. Rose High School, and graduated with degrees from the University of Manitoba, including a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education. She also received several certificates including the Harvard University Nation Building Certificate for Negotiations. Shirley continued her commitment to lifelong learning by pursuing a PhD in Education from the University of Manitoba. She was nearing its completion at the time of her passing.
Shirley began her career in First Nations education by working with Manitoba Indian Education Association in the late 1970s and early 1980s as well as for the Southeast Tribal Division for Schools in the late 1980s. She was one of the youngest First Nations instructors at the University of Manitoba when she began teaching her Anishinaabe Language. Shirley's leadership qualities were recognized early in her life. She has always been connected to initiatives that advanced First Nations education and broke new ground. As the Education Director of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, she was one of the leaders that conceived and established the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) to provide education services in various areas including language and culture, educational administration, technology, early learning, and special education clinical services to First Nations schools in Manitoba. She contributed to the development of the new First Nations Control of First Nations Education policy paper endorsed by First Nations Chiefs in Canada and the Assembly of First Nations. She was involved in reviewing the development of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba's Grade 5 and 6 Treaty curriculum materials as part of the Treaty Education Initiative and participated in planning the first Honouring First Nations Treaties Day at the Manitoba legislature. She was a visionary leader and political force at the local, regional, and national levels. Her encyclopedic knowledge of federal and provincial governmental process and First Nations protocols was a great benefit to all who worked with her. She was an ambassador for the importance of education and travelled extensively presenting on Manitoba First Nations education challenges and successes and on her own research. She presented at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in New Zealand, Australia, and Peru as well as conferences in the United States and throughout Canada. Shirley visited Israel as part of an education tour hosted by B'Nai Brith to increase understandings between First Nations and Jewish peoples. At the time of her passing, Shirley was the Associate Executive Director at MFNERC and was influential in the development and implementation of education initiatives including the Manitoba First Nations School System. Her most recent work was leading Manitoba First Nations strategies on First Nations languages, early learning, special education, and post-secondary education. She was an advocate of lifelong learning which she promoted in her work and modelled in her personal life. Her work was governed by her deep belief in her First Nations spirituality, culture, and love of the language. Shirley had an unwavering love and commitment to improving educational opportunities for our First Nations children. She continuously honoured the gift of language by speaking Anishinaabe as much as possible, and encouraged others to speak their language. To honour her memory and her lifelong dedication to education and language, our family will be offering a scholarship in her name.
Shirley will always be known for the great love she had for her grandchildren, Isaiah and Essence and the joy she expressed when each of them were born, the happiness in her voice when she spoke of them to family and friends, and how she loved to spend time with them. She loved watching all her grandchildren grow up; they were her pride and joy. She was happy and loved her life, loved her family, and loved her friends who became her family. She enjoyed visiting and spending time with her family. Family was a big part of who she was; her legacy lives on through each of us.
Shirley lived life to the fullest. Shirley was known for her grand entrances, and her presence always filled a room. She will be forever remembered for her inspiring sense of adventure, wisdom, grace, and kind, loving, and generous spirit. She loved shopping, especially to fulfill her love of fashion and colourful accessories such as jewelry, silk scarves, and stylish hats. She enjoyed the experience of different spa treatments, visiting casinos in her travels, music, and golfing. She was always quick to smile and made others smile through her playful jokes and teasing, and she was so generous, always helping those around her. She was connected and grounded in her Anishinaabe identity through her spirituality and ceremonies.
Although her passing came as a shock to all of us, we have faith and feel supported by the gifts she left us with, the gift of love and generosity for one another. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. We will be forever grateful for the time we had with her. Her memory will live on in all of us, in those moments that were filled with love, laughter, and joy. Always remember that she believed that "life is good, enjoy it, live it, and love the gift of life you have been given".
A service will be held at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery in Winnipeg, MB, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and an overnight wake will be held at the Recreational Complex, Ebb and Flow, MB, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 to Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Funeral service will follow in the Recreation Complex on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., ending with a feast at 4:00 p.m., and cremation will follow the service.
Pallbearers are her nephews, grandson, and son-in-law: Dion, Troy, Derek, Tristen, Kisis, Jordan and Nick.
Thank you to all her dear friends and family who shared her beautiful life!

Love you forever,
Gabaya'ii gi ga zhawenimigo.

For those who wish to sign the online
Guest Book please visit

Chapel Lawn Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 30, 2019

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • Shirley was a dear, intelligent woman who graced my life for too short of a period of my life. My sympathy go out to Brennan and Curtis. Her legacy to life. - Posted by: Michael Powers (Kindred spirit) on: May 01, 2019

  • Her journey on this plane will leave a legacy beyond what she could have imagined! Travel well to the beloved ancestors! - Posted by: Marlene Atleo (Doctoral advisor/colleague) on: Apr 30, 2019

  • Shirley was always an inspiration to everyone. We all loved her dearly. She will be dearly missed by all. Love you Shirley💞 - Posted by: Viola Desjarlais (Cousin) on: Apr 30, 2019

  • I worked with Shirley for a year with the provincial government before she moved to a different position. In the short time I worked with her she was an invaluable mentor and guide. I am honored to have known her for a short time. My deepest condolences to your family. Knowing the impact that she had on me in the short time I knew her I can only imagine the hole that has been left in the lives of those that were close to her. She will always be with you, remember her well. - Posted by: Rhonda Dyck (Co-worker) on: Apr 30, 2019

  • Shirley was a beautiful woman inside and out. She will be remembered and missed by all who knew her. ♡ - Posted by: Roxanne Shuttleworth (Cousin, lifetime friend ) on: Apr 30, 2019

Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

4000 Portage Ave. (Map)
Ph: 2048859715 | Visit Website

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