October 25, 1939 – May 7, 2004
LuVerna (Thomas) Clause was Seneca, from the Hawk Clan. Her walk life was from October 25, 1939 to May 7, 2004. She was born on the Six Nations Reserve in Ohsweken, Ontario. Her parents were Peter Thomas and Blanche Adell (Gibson) Thomas. She was the oldest of seven siblings and affectionately known by those close to her as “Delo”.
LuVerna married Walter A. Hill in 1961, together they had six children and departed ways in 1985. She later married the love of her life Ivan Carl Clause. LuVerna was a proud mother of six children, Grandmother to twenty-eight grandchildren and a Great Grandmother to fifteen great grandchildren.
In LuVerna’s early years, she trained to become a Registered Nursing Assistant while working at the Robert Mac Home for Handicapped Children. During this time she became involved with the Native Women’s Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. She eventually left the Robert Mac Home and started working at the Native Women’s Centre.
While working at the Native Women’s Centre, she became involved with the Indian Centre as it was known back then. LuVerna and John Redbird opened the doors for children to be taught Native Arts and Crafts. She and a few parents who attended the Indian Centre established a temporary Cultural Centre as a gathering place in Hamilton to offer services to the Aboriginal community. She helped the founding members with the Letters Patent enabling them to become what we now know as the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre. She served as a Board member for many years and eventually as President.
LuVerna also worked in Toronto, Ontario at the Native Women’s Resource Centre where she helped to establish the Inner Circle and saw a need for a Literacy and Basic Skills program. Her time in Toronto was short lived when her Grandmother became ill and needed someone to care for her. Family always came first for LuVerna, so away she went to care for her ailing Grandmother.
Much of her life was spent volunteering her time and energy to improve the quality of life for our people. With a smile on her face, she would hurry from one community activity or meeting to another. She had a long and dedicated service to the Friendship Centre Movement. She held true to her beliefs and faith while working with and being a member of different Aboriginal and mainstream organizations and agencies.
She lived her final years in Fort Erie, Ontario and was involved in many organizations – the Fort Erie Friendship Centre; Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, National Association of Friendship Centres; Fort Erie Three Fires Community Justice Program; The Municipal Council of the Town of Fort Erie “Point Abino Lighthouse Stakeholders Group”; Wadesk Aboriginal Education Centre; Aboriginal Education Management Circle (AEMC) at Niagara College; Aboriginal Education Access office at Niagara Colleges; Welland Campus for Counselling Service; Fort Erie Native Elders Group; Elder Support Service; Aboriginal Education Council at Brock University in St. Catherines, ON; Baezhig Wawun Youth Centre Advisory Circle; Tenant Advisory Committee member for Ganawageh Urban Homes and Ohsto: Seri Urban Aboriginal Homes; Niagara Chapter of Native Women; Fort Erie Aboriginal Head Start/Native Day Care and the Fort Erie Literacy Program.
One of her biggest accomplishments was obtaining her high school diploma through the Friendship Centre’s Alternative Secondary School Program.
LuVerna always had a kind word to say, a smile to share and a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. She influenced many young people during her life giving guidance and support whenever it was needed.
Her laughter, love and wisdom will continue to echo. She will be forever missed by those who were fortunate enough to have worked with or known her.