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In Memoriam

Elder Lewis Debassige, M’Chigeeng First Nation

It is with great sadness that we say baamaapii kaawaaabamin to Elder Lewis Debassige ba who began his spirit journey Monday, May 13, 2019. He has been a staunch advocate for jurisdiction over education for First Nations. He provided the FNWSC guidance in governance, political and cultural matters over the past three years.


His contributions to First Nation education nationally, regionally and locally is to be commended. He was the former Education Director for his home community of M’Chigeeng First Nation and Sagamok Anishnawbek.


Elder Debassige was one of the original young activists on the forefront of self-determination activism in the late 60’s and early 70’s demanding a response to Trudeau’s White Paper in 1969. And he was our friend, colleague and wise counsel.


Miigwech for your service Elder Lewis ba your work will be carried on by the leaders you have trained so well.


Grand Chief, Bawdwaywidun ba, Three Fires Midewiwin Society

It is with sadness that we hear of the passing of Bawdwaywidun (Eddie Benton Banai), Grand Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge on Monday, November 30, 2020. 

He committed his life to fighting for the cultivation of Anishinaabe way of life in its most customary form – in lodge and in ceremony. He was raised Mide, in the language, and made it his life’s purpose to invite Midewiwin life into the hearts of the people again. His life’s work is evident in the many families who walk with confidence and pride in who they are as Anishinaabe. He brought the Creation Story and its importance to them in ceremony, time and time again.


It is for this reason, the FNWSC would like to acknowledge the wisdom he carried. Many of the knowledge keepers that the FNWSC seeks guidance from come from the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge. We have had Onaubinosay (Jim Dumont) on several occasions speak to us about Anishinaabek governance traditions as Anishinaabek principles. Jim Dumont is the Eastern Doorway Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, the lodge that Bawdwaywidun built. We are forever grateful for the knowledge Bawdwaywidun has left for Midewiwin and educators to nourish and build stronger just as he envisioned.


Rest easy Grand Chief ba, while your work is done here on Earth, know that you have left us the most incredible gifts. The many teaching bundles you gave so generously will be carefully protected and cultivated into the education systems you spoke so passionately about. Safe travels Bawdwaywidun, Miigwech Miigwech Miigwech Miigwech.