OTTAWA, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn
A-in-chut Atleo commented today on the passing of Elder Ernest (Ernie)
Kaientaronkwen Benedict, a long-serving and highly respected Elder of
the Mohawk Nation who resided in Akwesasne.
"Today, First Nations people across the country join the citizens of the
Mohawk Nation in mourning the loss of a respected Elder and teacher, a
great leader and a great man: Ernie Kaientaronkwen Benedict.
Ernie was a pioneer in many fields, including education. He was one of
the first First Nations people to obtain a university degree and
dedicated much of his life to ensuring education was a tool and a
vehicle to advance the aspirations of the Mohawk Nation and First
Nation peoples everywhere.
Ernie was a strong believer in the rights and sovereignty of the First
Peoples. He was a strong advocate for First Nations border crossing
rights as well as the right of First Nations to control their own
affairs and make the decisions that affect their lives and communities.
Ernie taught all of us so much in so many areas, yet everything he did
was guided by an unwavering belief in the inherent rights of First
Nations. First Nations today have identified education as a key
priority to strengthen our youth and our nations. This is very much a
legacy of the work and life of Ernie Kaientaronkwen Benedict, who was
one of the first to articulate the principle of First Nation control of
First Nation education.
Ernie's work in education, community and social development and
enhancing and strengthening traditional culture was rightly recognized
with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1995. His insight,
wisdom, strength and commitment to his people will be greatly missed.
On behalf of the AFN, I want to express my sincere condolences to the
family and friends of Elder Ernie Kaientaronkwen Benedict. Our prayers
are with you."
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
Assembly of First Nations
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer
613-292-0857 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer
613-314-8157 or email@example.com