In Honor of Shirley Moses – A Beloved Sister, AKNWRC Founding Member and Board Chairwoman

By Tami Truett Jerue, Native Village of Anvik, Executive Director of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center


Photo of Shirley Moses.
(Photos courtesy of AKNWRC.)

With great sadness, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKWRC) says goodbye to our sister, friend, fierce advocate for women and children, and Chair of our Board of Directors, Shirley May Moses (1952-2021). 

Today and for all the years to come, we will celebrate Shirley’s life and contributions to our movement to restore safety to Alaska Native women. We lost Shirley in June to her battle with cancer. Throughout her treatment, Shirley never stopped caring and helping anyone who came to her for help. We will miss all that she brought to our movement to end violence against Indigenous women.

Shirley was an Inupiaq Eskimo, born in Nome, Alaska, and raised in the interior Native Village of Tanana, Alaska, with her siblings.

Shirley was a strong voice advocating for victim’s rights across the state of Alaska and nationally, including as a member of the NCAI VAW Task Force.

In 2006, Shirley helped to organize and staffed a shelter for Native women called “Our Grandmother’s House” in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Shirley’s dedication to Native women resulted in a life of constant travel to remote villages throughout Alaska to provide advocacy and technical assistance, and to represent at regional and national meetings. Pictured: Paula Julian, Senior Policy Specialist, NIWRC (center) and Tami Truett Jerue, Native Village of Anvik (left).

In 2011, Shirley was appointed by US Attorney General Eric Holder to a National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Examiner–Sexual Assault Response Team Initiative representing Alaska Native concerns and needs.

In 2015, Shirley helped to found the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center. Shirley served as co-chair and then the chair of the AKNWRC Board of Directors until her passing.

In 2016, Shirley was a founding member and the first Director of Healing Native Hearts Coalition, a Tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition. She worked with the Healing Native Hearts Coalition until her passing.

She raised her five children with her husband Bergman, and her home was a safe place where she always welcomed many of her children’s friends. Her husband, five children and many more Shirley fostered, and five grandchildren survive Shirley.

Shirley spent 30 years working in the behavioral health field and taught grades K-8 in villages throughout Alaska. In addition, she worked with youth in residential and community settings.

Shirley will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.

Shirley was a staunch supporter of children and often said that, “children are our first responders.”  


“Shirley, we are going to miss you and will continue to honor and love you.”—Tami Truett Jerue, Executive Director, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center.


“Shirley, my fierce strong hearted advocate sister, you live on in everyone you loved and protected.”

—Paula Julian, Senior Policy Specialist, NIWRC


As a founding mother of AKNWRC, Shirley worked tirelessly with fellow board members and the staff as a sister, many of whom she worked with over decades to increase the safety of Native women.


Believing the changes needed to increase the safety of Native women would come from within Native villages, Shirley centered her movement efforts on her Indigenous beliefs, customs, and traditions. Pictured: Nettie Warbelow, Athabascan, Native Village Tetlin (left), and Joann Horn, Yupik, Native Village of Bill Moore’s Slough (right).


Photo of Shirley Moses.