Treaty #3 Elder Tobasonakwut Kinew passes
Respected Elder Tobasonakwut Kinew (Peter Kelly) was a champion of educating Canadians about the Anishinabe people, rights and teachings.
“Today, First Nations from coast to coast to coast mourn the passing and honour the legacy of Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew, a man who dedicated his life to the cause of the Anishinabe and First Nations and educating all Canadians about our people, our rights and our teachings,” said
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. “He was a pipe carrier, sun dancer, a man deeply immersed in the knowledge of the traditional Anishinaabe Mite'iwin. His insight into the connections between traditional knowledge and contemporary teachings allowed him to reach across cultures and generations to build bridges of understanding.”
The Ojibways of Onigaming citizen was born in 1936 on his father's trap line on Lake of the Woods and passed into the spirit world on Dec. 23, 2012. As a child, he was chosen by Elders for instruction and mentoring in the knowledge and traditions of the Anishinabeg and reached an “unparalleled” level of knowledge.
Kinew attended residential school until Grade 8 and pursued his postsecondary education at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and at the University of Manitoba, where he earned a BA. He also received an honorary doctorate in laws from The University of Winnipeg in 2011.
“Dr. Kinew was a true leader,” Atleo said. “He served as chief of his community, grand chief of Treaty #3 and regional chief for the Chiefs of Ontario. Many will remember also that he was the Elder that accompanied former national chief Phil Fontaine in their private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2009. Dr. Kinew made a powerful impression by bringing into the meeting with him traditional sacred items and gifts from First Nations across the country.”
Kinew served as the first Ontario regional chief, Treaty #3’s grand chief from 1972-75 and 1991-95 and his community’s chief for several terms. He was also a founding member of the National Indian Brotherhood, the Assembly of First Nations and the Native American Science Academy.
The University of Winnipeg recently established a $10,000 fund in honour of Kinew, who performed multiple roles as Elder and instructor in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance and Master’s in Development Practice with a focus on Indigenous Development.
A memorial service for family and friends was held at the Glen Lawn Funeral Home in Winnipeg on Dec. 27 and a wake was held on Dec. 28 in his home community.
Kinew’s funeral was held on Dec. 29 at the Onigaming Round House.
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