NAN Mourns Passing of Grand Council Treaty No. 9 Founding Member Chris Cromarty
THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Derek Fox, on behalf of the Executive Council, expresses heartfelt condolences following the passing of NAN Elder Chris Cromarty, one of the founding members of Grand Council Treaty No. 9:
“We are very saddened to learn of Chris’s passing and our love and prayers are with his dear wife Annie, his family, and his home community of Wunnumin Lake First Nation.
Most NAN First Nations didn’t have electricity, airstrips, or running water when leaders like Chris Cromarty established Grand Council Treaty No. 9 to improve the lives of our citizens. Our Nations have come a long way since then, but the work we continue to do for our people was built on vision that founders had for Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
As a leader Chris believed in preserving traditional practices and was concerned with young people losing touch with their language, culture, and spirituality. He often spoke about seeing positive change in young people as they returned to traditional teachings. He once commented that world changed in the 1960s with the growing recognition of Indigenous traditions and culture as people were joining together to share their values and the things they treasure. We are seeing more of this today, with Indigenous rights, culture, and identity increasingly being recognized and celebrated.
Chris was an inspiration to us all, and we cherish his life of leadership and friendship. Many of us have grown up with a strong sense of pride and confidence thanks to leaders like him who have guided us along the way.”
Chris Cromarty was born in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake) in 1937 to Eila and Isaac Cromarty. At age 8 his family moved when his father worked at Pickelcrow Gold Mine, north of Pickle Lake. He attended the Pelican Lake Indian Residential School at Pelican Falls near Sioux Lookout and the Shingwauk Indian Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie.
He was the founding vice-president of Grand Council Treaty No. 9, which eventually became Nishnawbe Aski Nation. He was part of the delegation that asserted NAN’s Declaration of the Rights and Principles to the federal government in 1977. After serving as the Treaty No. 9 vice-president for many years in the 1970s he managed the Big Trout Lake Co-op and later the Mistik store in Wunnumin Lake.
Cromarty was an integral part of the 1997 Four Party Hospital Services Agreement that united two hospitals in Sioux Lookout into one regional hospital, which eventually became the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre. He served as the inaugural chair of the SLFNHA board of directors and worked in health until his retirement.
He was awarded the Meno Ya Win Health Centre’s inaugural Chris Cromarty Excellence in Leadership Award in 2007 for his tremendous contributions to improving health care in the Sioux Lookout area. NAN honoured him with a lifetime achievement award in 2012.
Chris and his wife opened their home to many children in need and were loving foster parents. He is pre-deceased by his adopted son Baron Cromarty. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. We ask everyone to send prayers and respects to the Cromarty family and all those who are mourning over the days ahead
For more information please contact:
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790