by Stephanie Guzman
Hazel Wolf was born in Hazel Anna Cummings Anderson in Victoria, B.C. Canada, on March 10, 1898. Hazel Wolf grew up in poverty in her early years; she was raised by a single mother in the industrial slums in Canada. Her mother didn’t have the opportunity to get an education, but she would provide for the family by doing laundry, nursing, and working the assembly line in an overall factory. Wolf often went with her mother to attend the Industrial Workers of the World Union meetings. There she saw her mother taking leadership roles as a secretary. Wolf’s mother stood out for resisting gender roles such as not washing dishes and not wearing long skirts. She would also not wear heels; she would chop them off with an ax on her way to school. According to Wolf, she was always ready for adventure. Later, Wolf emigrated from Victoria and headed to Seattle as a single mother, looking for work during World War I. Her lack of education and living in poverty made it a struggle to find a good paying job. She ended up finding work as a legal secretary, working to provide for her children and herself. (Starbuck, 2005, P.g 85)
Hazel Wolf fought for the rights of workers, womxn, and minorities, she also became involved in labor issues after moving to Seattle in 1923. Wolf fought for the protection of wilderness, wetlands, and wildlife. Hazel Wolf was well known as an environmentalist and social activist. She was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Medal of Excellence, an honor she shared with the American Marine Biologist, Rachel Carson and American politician, Jimmy Carter. Hazel Wolf’s activism and involvement led her to become the secretary of the Seattle Audubon Society and the president of the Hanford Oversight Committee. She protested the plans for a new weapons reactor at Hanford, Washington. This group opposed the selection of Hanford Nuclear Reservation as the nation’s first disposal site for highly radioactive waste chosen, by the Department of Energy.
According to the University of Washington Press, She passed away at age 101 on Jan. 19, 2000, in Port Angeles, Washington. When Hazel Wolf passed away, the governor of Washington and union organizers crowded at Town Hall in Seattle to honor Hazel Wolf’s activism and her stories. She traveled and made connections with indigenous people, labor, and environmentalists. An interesting fact about her was that “a film festival, a wetlands preserve, a bird sanctuary, a high school, and a Seattle Audubon Society endowment all carry her name, in tribute to a womxn who proudly described herself as a lifelong ‘rabble rouser.’”