Born in a bush camp east of Fort
Vermilion, Alberta to Isadore and Beulah
Gladue, Nicole was one of 5 children, members of the Jean d'Or
and Tallcree First Nations. Nicole grew up in the Fort
Vermilion area, largely on traplines and hunting camps - this
At Home the last area of Alberta where there were still buffalo to
With The hunt. In the late 1950's the government forced relocation of
Author these dispersed families into settlements. Here the Gladue
1969 settled in the 'Chicagotown' ghetto of tarpaper shacks at
In 1967 the author, then a bank manager, established the Northern Echo in
High Level, becoming the first newspaper north of Peace River. Here he was
joined by Nicole. A vivacious, charming and bubbly personality and a smile
that would melt the heart of a WITIKO, she easily made friends. Guys fell
over themselves for her. Best friends competed for her attention. And she
knew it. Only person I ever knew who could hitch-hike across country by air.
After consulting for some National Filmboard productions Nicole moved to
Toronto where, she moved in the circle of people like June Callwood, Gordon
Lightfoot (the author was invited to join Gordon on tour as Bass player but
had to decline) and Kahn Tineta Horn. By 1970 she had become Canada's top
Indian (not Aboriginal or Native) model, and the second Indian model after
Kahn Tineta Horn.
From Toronto she moved onto the modeling and celebrity circuit and relocated
to New York. Among her circle were Jonathan Winters whose band 'White Trash'
took the name from our band at High Level. Also among friends were The
Grateful Dead, where she inspired the song 'Bertha'. There has also been a
suggestion that Lightfoot's 'Sundown' had something to do with her.
Never forgetting her background, Nicole became
involved with the American Indian Movement and
was at Wounded Knee in 1973.
At Wounded Knee 1973 (back)
Unfortunately, she slipped into drug usage
and life started to spiral out of control. In
effect, she became a (high-priced) Escort on Wall Street.
To escape, Nicole returned home. Here she married a small-time entrepreneur
and dedicated herself to raising a family, helping to preserve Aboriginal
culture and identity and working to improve the plight of northern native
Today, under a different name, she heads up Native agency in northern
Alberta. Good work Sis. Always been proud of you - but I still won't call
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