News May 1, 2013

On the Passing of Shirley Firth-Larsson
(YELLOWKNIFE) Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – The Members of the 17th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories today expressed condolences to the family of Shirley Firth-Larsson, Olympic athlete and Legislative Assembly employee, who passed away on Tuesday.
Speaker Jackie Jacobson said, “On behalf of Members of this Assembly, it is with great sadness and sorrow that I offer condolences to Ms. Firth-Larsson’s family and loved ones. Shirley was not only my Executive Assistant, but my good friend, and it was an absolute honour to work with her. She will be missed by many people; she touched so many lives and was such an inspiration to Aboriginal women. The North has lost an amazing person.”
Shirley and her sister, Sharon Firth, were part of a pioneering program to introduce skiing to Northern Canada’s Aboriginal people and were the first Aboriginal women to be members of Canada’s national ski team representing the Northwest Territories. Shirley was inducted into the Canadian Ski Museum and the Skiing Hall of Fame in 1990. She competed in four Winter Olympics, four World Ski Championships, and numerous Canadian and North American Championships. Shirley was also voted the Canadian Women’s Nordic Skier of the Year six times by Ski Racing Magazine.
After marrying her husband, Jan Larsson, Shirley settled in Europe for over 20 years where she and Jan raised three daughters. While there, she lectured on Dene and Inuit cultures at various universities, schools, and cultural centers in central Europe and Scandinavia. Shirley was awarded the Order of Canada in 1987, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
“This is a sad day for the North, and especially for the Gwich’in community. She motivated so many youth to work toward their goals; her dedication and passion for the North and its people will truly be missed,” said Speaker Jacobson.
For more information, please contact:
Honourable Jackie Jacobson, Speaker
Legislative Assembly of the NWT
Phone: 867-669-2234 or 1-800-661-0784