April 15, 2024

“One of many classes that Steve gave to all of us was to like one another, to look after one another, to be respectful,” mentioned his spouse, Caroline Adam-Courtoreille.

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Chief Steve Courtoreille’s time as a soldier within the Canadian Armed Forces was transient, however his spouse says it was the primary place he discovered to construct bridges. Constructing extra bridges, at the very least metaphorical bridges, grew to become key as a neighborhood and political chief.

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Courtoreille–who served two phrases as chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation from 2011 to 2017, 4 phrases as a councillor, and phrases as Treaty 8 Grand Chief–died on February 12. He was 68. A funeral Mass was held February 17 at Sacred Coronary heart Catholic Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton.

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“One of many classes that Steve gave to all of us was to like one another, to look after one another, to be respectful,” mentioned his spouse, Caroline Adam-Courtoreille. “He introduced collectively lots of people.”

Courtoreille was born on the Doghead reserve close to Fort Chipewyan. He spent 9 years in a residential faculty, which Adam-Courtoreille referred to as “a traumatic expertise.” He spoke with folks about his experiences within the residential faculty system. His message in these talks was nobody’s previous ought to maintain them again from life.

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He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1975, however it was a quiet time for the navy and he left when it grew to become clear he wouldn’t be happening a deployment anytime quickly. Courtoreille returned residence and acquired a job at Syncrude, mentored younger folks and in addition labored as a recreation director.

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L=R: Residential faculty survivors Chichanie Wikias and Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Steve Courtoreille embrace in the course of the closing ceremonies of the seventh and remaining Reality and Reconciliation Fee (TRC) occasion on the Shaw Convention Centre, in Edmonton Alta., on Sunday March 29, 2014. David Bloom/Postmedia Community

Finally, politics referred to as to Courtoreille. He served as councillor and chief throughout a time of huge progress within the oilsands, in addition to uncertainty in regards to the business amongst many individuals in his neighborhood.

In 2013, MCFN took the Harper authorities to court docket over omnibus payments that modified acts coping with fishing, looking and water rights. The First Nation argued their treaty rights had been infringed as a result of they’d not been consulted. The laws sparked the Idle No Extra protest motion. Courtoreille mentioned the authorized fights had been separate from the protests, however many protesters gave their help to MCFN’s authorized struggle.

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The Supreme Court docket of Canada dominated towards MCFN, however Adam-Courtoreille says the authorized problem made a distinction. The connection with the federal authorities and the oilsands business nonetheless has its points, however she mentioned it began bettering after they went to court docket.

Courtoreille was additionally in a position to open the Kahkiyow Keykanow Elders Care House in Fort Chipewyan. The long-term care centre (which is Cree for “all people’s residence”) opened forward of a long-awaited centre opened in Fort McMurray.

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MCFN Chief Steve Courtoreille speaks at a press convention on the Courtyard Marriott Resort in Edmonton, on Monday, July 7, 2014. John Lucas/Postmedia Community

Through the 2016 Horse River Wildfire, he was in a position to foyer for improved lodging for members who had been a part of the evacuation of Fort McMurray. Courtoreille was nervous that elders would have flashbacks to residing in residential faculties. He was additionally an advocate for the victims and households of Lacking, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous Individuals (MMEIP).

“If he mentioned he would do one thing, he would do it. I’m not simply saying that as a result of he’s my husband, I noticed him give the shirt off his again to individuals who wanted it many instances,” mentioned Adam Courtoreille. “Any manner he may assist his membership, he would.”

Courtoreille is survived by his spouse, seven kids, and loads of grandchildren, nephews and siblings.

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