NAN Mourns Passing of former Weenusk First Nation (Peawanuck) Chief George Hunter

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Derek Fox, on behalf of the Executive Council, expresses heartfelt condolences following the passing of former Weenusk First Nation (Peawanuck) Chief George Hunter:

“We are very saddened to learn that our dear friend has begun his journey to the Spirit World. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jean, their children, and the entire Peawanuck community.

George grew up living off the land, hunting animals with the seasons and gathering medicine. He taught his children and grandchildren to appreciate and respect Mother Earth and how to live from what the land has to offer.

When George was first elected he was the youngest Chief in the Mushkegowuk region, and he spent the rest of his life as a leader. Among his many accomplishments as Chief was the relocation of the community up-river to protect against seasonal flooding from ice-jams on the Winisk River.

As an Omushkego Cree Knowledge-Keeper, he raised concern about changes in the environment and animal behaviour – what we now call climate change. He knew the importance of the seasons’ connection to our traditional way of life and culture, and he hoped for a sustainable future for our families, communities, and the land.

We will support his family and community in the difficult days ahead, and we will honour his memory as we enjoy, protect, and harvest from the land.”

Peawanuck (‘flint stone’ in Cree) is located approximately 30 kilometres up the Winisk River from the southern coast of Hudson Bay. Their traditional territory spans dense Boreal Forest to muskeg and tundra, known as ‘The Promised Land’ to the descendants of the area’s First Peoples.

The original community of Winisk was established in the 1950s along with nearby military radar sites along the Mid-Canada Line, built to provide early warning of an attack on North America. The community was destroyed in 1986 by a sudden, massive flood that claimed the lives of two community members.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Please join us in sharing love and prayers with the Hunter family and the Peawanuck community in the days ahead.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790

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