Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit passes
Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit, a James Bay leader who has been involved in First Nations politics for more than 30 years, died in the early hours of June 10.
Louttit was battling cancer since the fall of 2012. He was 64.
Louttit was born on his family’s traditional homelands at Lake River, located about 100 miles north of Attawapiskat. A Fort Albany First Nation member, Louttit moved to Moose Factory during his teen years and lived there for the past 50 years. He was made an honourary member of the Moose Cree First Nation in acknowledgement of his many contributions to the local community.
During the course of his career he also served a five-year term as deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Louttit was presented with a Ministerial Award and the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery in recognition of his efforts during the Winisk flood of 1986.
In 2011, the grand chief was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Education by Nipissing University in recognition of his leadership and service to the Mushkegowuk Peoples and all First Nation citizens throughout Canada.
After he was diagnosed with cancer, Louttit continued to serve in his third consecutive term as Mushkegowuk grand chief while he received chemotherapy treatment. He was first elected as grand chief in 2004.
Since he became the leader of Mushkegowuk, Louttit fought and advocated for the rights and issues of his people whether it was related to housing, healthcare, policing, suicide and drug abuse.
He helped bring the Attawapiskat housing crisis to the limelight.
Louttit was a strong proponent of educating First Nations and non-First Nations alike on the treaty relationship between all Treaty 9 signatories, including the governments of Ontario and Canada.
He regularly gave a presentation he developed called, “The Real Agreement as Orally Agreed to,” which chronicles and explains the signing of the treaty. The presentation is based on oral history, extensive research by himself and Nipissing University professor John Long (who wrote the book, Treaty No. 9), and consultations.
Last summer, Mushkegowuk launched a lawsuit against the Ontario and Canadian government about the treaty. The basis of the lawsuit was the diaries of the treaty commissioners who wrote that they made oral promises that were not written in the treaty.
Last fall Louttit announced Mushkegowuk was launching a ‘Peoples Inquiry’ to address the suicide crisis troubling their communities after no government would offer support.
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy offered condolences on behalf of all Ontario chiefs to the family, friends and all First Nations in Mushkegowuk territory on the passing of Louttit.
“Grand Chief Louttit fought a courageous battle against cancer and through it all still represented his territory and people to the best of his ability,” Beardy said in a release. “I worked with him for many years. He will be dearly missed.”
Since his battle with cancer became public, friends, family and community members offered
their prayers and support on the Facebook group page called “Support and Prayer For Our Grand Chief Stan Louttit and His Family.”
Mushkegowuk is a tribal council that represents the Cree communities of Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Moose Cree, Taykwa Tagamou, Chapleau Cree and Missanabie Cree.
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