A first language (Ojibwe) speaker that I knew fairly well passed away the other day. This is a big deal in Indian Country because there aren’t many left, but this loss hit me in a big way. I have learned from this man, he is extremely likable, and I am friends with his daughter. He was also set to help us with our annual language camp this summer and it will be quite strange to hear somebody else presiding over the horseshoe tournament.
When I heard he had started his journey, the first memory that came to mind was last summer after a canoe race, he asked me to quick take a picture while he still had his shirt off. Standing there with his racing partner and his farmer’s tan, big grin on his face… Honestly I cannot think of a time that I did not see him smiling.
I had to delete his email address from a group contact list yesterday. That seems like a small thing…but it was extremely hard for me to do. I’m still in shock. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.
Safe travels, Gaagigebines. It is true that you will be greatly missed.