Vera Manuel devoted her life to encouraging others to free ourselves through the use of our personal voices. Telling the truth is disarming, speaking your truth is a generous and healing gift.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Tribute to Vera Manuel

Vera Manuel passed away last week, leaving an important legacy as writer, poet, playwright, storyteller and as someone dedicated to using her cultural knowledge in the healing of Aboriginal people.

Her play, Strength of Indian Women was staged through-out North American and published as in the anthology Two Plays about Residential Schools (along with Larry Loyie). Her work was honoured with inclusion at the Native American Women Playwrights Program, housed at Maima University, in Oxford, Ohio. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, most recently in ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary B.C. Poetry.

She was given a Life-time Achievement Award by the World Poetry organization here in Vancouver and the Aboriginal Writer’s Collective will be arranging the publication of her work in the near future. She was most recently Poet-in-Resident with the Aboriginal Media Lab.

She was the daughter of cultural leader Marceline Paul and political leader George Manuel Sr. She is survived by her loving dog U’tspo and 4 loving brothers; Arthur, Richard, George Jr., and Ara; her 4 loving sisters; Emaline, Doreen, Martha and Ida; and her numerous loving nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her Mother, Marceline Paul, Father, George Manuel Sr, and Brother Robert (Bobby) Manuel.

Family statement published in The Georgia Straight.

If you would like to submit stories, poetry, images in celebration of Vera's life and work, these will be gladly accepted for posting on this site at this address


  1. I am remembering sitting around my oak table at Synalla, Vera's voice, lyrical soft and gentle, speaking story, reading, listening with her whole person, wondering how we came to this place of terrible evaluation of our lives, our humanity, the destruction of our dreams and the lost breath in all those moments of terror and me thinking how great it will be when we are old and all this is over. I will miss you until I join you Vera, my friend and my colleague. My children shed tears for your early departure.

  2. Hi Joanne,
    I remember Vera in Chilliwack, BC. A lived in a group home at the time and she was my girlfriend in high school. I visited her once when she moved LA to live with sister. I moved as well and we lost touch. To bad! She was a remarkable woman!

  3. Hi Jacob, thanks for your note.
    Yes, she was a remarkable woman, for sure.