Champion of sports and recreation
Former Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) deputy grand chief Dan Kooses was a champion of sports and recreation for his people.
“He used to love taking kids to tournaments out of town in Moosonee and down south to Sudbury, Wiarton and all those towns,” said Kashechewan Deputy Chief Amos Wesley about his former coach, who passed away on Dec. 16 after battling a lengthy illness. “He used to be an active participant in hockey. He was really a funny, outgoing very loud kind of guy. He used to just have fun with lots of people that he was with. He was also a very good speaker.”
Wesley said Kooses will be missed in his home community.
“It’s a big loss to the community,” Wesley said. “We have lost one of our most outspoken, most talented politicians that the community has seen.”
Kooses served his people as deputy grand chief from 2000-2006, as Kaschechewan chief for five terms in the 1980s and 1990s, as one of the founders of Grand Council Treaty #9 and also during the establishment of Mushkegowuk Council in the late 1980s.
“He was very active and very involved in the birth of those organizations,” said Kashechewan Chief Derek Stephan. “I worked with Dan for a long time. I was the deputy chief when he was the chief in our community. He actually paved the way for me to become a leader for my people. Your heart has to be for the people, not for yourself – that’s what he believed in.”
A long-time coach with the James Bay Eagles, Wolves and Braves, Kooses was known for taking his teams to Little NHL tournaments in Sudbury and bringing home the tournament cup. He also worked hard to obtain funding for sports and recreation initiatives in the community.
“You can never go wrong when you do something for a youth because they are the future,” Kooses said at a tribute dinner this past May.
Kooses also completed four years of Sundance ceremonies and was a pipe carrier at traditional ceremonies.
He is survived by his wife Terri; three children, Jenesse, Taylor and Tamara; and nine grandchildren, Stanford, Zack Jr., Sierra, Daniel, Dallas, Tie, Blake, Owen and Carter.
Visitation was held on Dec. 18 at the Miron-Wilson Funeral home in Timmins with a prayer service following in the evening.
The family also held a special service open to the public on Dec. 19 at the Francine J. Wesley Secondary School in Kashechewan.
Another visitation was held on Dec. 20 at Francine J. Wesley Secondary School in the morning before the noon-hour funeral service.
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