AFN National Chief Acknowledges Passing of Anishinaabe Elder, Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew

OTTAWA, Dec. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo reflected today on the passing of respected Anishinaabe Elder, activist and educator Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew, a citizen of the Ojibways of Onigaming, a Treaty #3 community in Ontario.

"Today, First Nations from coast to coast to coast mourn the passing and honour the legacy of Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew, a man who dedicated his life to the cause of the Anishinaabe and First Nations and educating all Canadians about our people, our rights and our teachings," said National Chief Atleo. "He was a Pipe Carrier, Sun Dancer, a man deeply immersed in the knowledge of the traditional Anishinaabe Mite'iwin. His insight into the connections between traditional knowledge and contemporary teachings allowed him to reach across cultures and generations to build bridges of understanding.

Dr. Kinew was a firm believer in education for our youth.  He himself was a survivor of the residential schools, and his ability to overcome and transcend that experience, while never forgetting the impact it had on our people, was inspiring to all.

Dr. Kinew was a true leader. He served as Chief of his community, Grand Chief of Treaty #3 and Regional Chief for the Chiefs of Ontario.  Many will remember also that he was the Elder that accompanied former National Chief Phil Fontaine in their private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2009.  Dr. Kinew made a powerful impression by bringing into the meeting with him traditional sacred items and gifts from First Nations across the country.

Our thoughts today are first and foremost with Dr. Kinew's family.  We send them our thoughts, prayers and songs.  Their loss is a loss for all of us.  We honour Dr. Kinew's legacy and send our sincerest condolences."

This month, the University of Winnipeg established The Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew Fund for the promotion of Indigenous Culture, History and Language.  Dr. Kinew served with the University as an Elder and instructor in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance and Master's in Development Practice with a focus on Indigenous Development.  The University of Winnipeg honoured Elder Kinew with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in 2011.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations in Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms


For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or

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