Author Photograph by Angela Gzowski, 2021, Yellowknife
The eldest of her mother’s ten children, family historian Bonita Nowell began to trace the family tree after Alex Haley's 1976 book, Roots, came out. Inspired by Haley's genealogical detective work, Nowell pieced together her own family history through interviews, correspondence, records, family, friends, and Elders near and far. She discovered that she’s a sixth-generation Northerner and direct descendant of Francois Beaulieu (1771–1872), "Le Patriarche,” a founding father of the Métis of the Northwest Territories.
Born in Yellowknife, Nowell returned to the Northwest Territories’ capital more than thirty-five years ago to live, work, marry, and raise her daughter. She's a member of the Northwest Territory Métis Nation and a graduate of the University of Calgary, where she completed the Creative Writing Certificate Program. An academic author and co-author of many publications, Nowell has won numerous public sector awards, including a 2016 Premier's Award for Collaboration. She enjoys a creative life and spending time with her family at the cabin.