John W Friesen John W Friesen John W Friesen John W Friesen played by John W Friesen interior design by Virginia Lyons Friesen
Biographical Information

Growing up in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan and attending school with Native children gave John Friesen an early interest in Indigenous history and culture. As a child, he read everything he could about Canada’s First Nations, and when he began his career as a professor at the University of Calgary in 1967, he immediately set about pursuing this interest in First Nations peoples. <!–Before long the university began offering courses in the area of First Nation peoples, although the administration did not pay instructors for this extra to load opportunity. Soon the field expanded to include course offerings today taught by John and Virginia Friesen–Native education in Canada, Plains First Nation history, Aboriginal art and spirituality, M├ętis history, Native American Legends, and Issues in Native education.

Virginia Lyons Friesen was motivated to enter the field when the couple took on the roles of Minister (John) and Director of Christian Education (Virginia) of the Morley United Church of Canada nearly two decades ago. The church is located on the Stoney (Nakoda Sioux) reserve, which is located west of the city of Calgary. Having completed her Ph.D., Virginia joined John in authoring a dozen or more books on various aspects of First Nations history and culture.

The two continue to offer university courses at Old Sun College on the Siksika (Blackfoot) Reserve which is located an hour drive east of Calgary. They also continue to co-teach several courses for the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Communication and Culture, with both present in the classroom at the same time. They take turns lecturing and leading inspiring discussions, often interrupting one another when an idea strikes them. Students seem to enjoy their lively exchanges and eagerly attend classes, never knowing quite what to expect.

John’s hobbies and interests include writing, travel, music, woodwork, watching westerns, collecting art, and spending time at home.<!– with Virginia. Virginia enjoys travel, quilting, music, art and interior design. Some of their favorite places in the world include the Canadian Rockies (by motorcycle), Palm Springs, New Mexico, Italy, and wherever their youngest grandchildren are playing.

John and Virginia welcome comments and questions about their work and are always glad to share their ideas with inquirers.–>


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