Indigenous hockey pioneer Fred Sasakamoose’s funeral on Saturday was streamed to tons of of individuals on Fb and featured feedback from leaders throughout Canada.
Sasakamoose died on Nov. 24 of issues of COVID-19. He was 86.
Sasakamoose, one of many first Indigenous folks to play within the NHL, performed 11 video games with Chicago throughout the 1953-54 season, splitting time with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron was the grasp of ceremonies for the service which was held on the group enviornment bearing Sasakamoose’s title on the Ahtahkakoop First Nation.
As a result of public well being order relating to funeral service restrictions, solely 30 folks have been in individual for Sasakamoose’s funeral however the stream on Fb noticed over 600 folks to just about attend.
In an interview, Cameron mentioned he had many nice recollections of Sasakamoose and his legacy. He mentioned Sasakamoose was a “mighty fine man.”
“He always had a lesson when he spoke to not just me, but to thousands of us,” Cameron mentioned. “I’ll never forget, he’d say: ‘Believe in yourself’.”
A video tribute was performed on the ceremony which featured condolences from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde and lots of different First Nations leaders.
“In every generation there are people who fight for what is right who break down barriers and who’ve paved the way for others,” Trudeau mentioned in a video tribute. “Fred Sasakamoose, was a kind of folks. He was a survivor, a trailblazer and a pacesetter.
“On the ice or on the band council, Fred devoted his life to his group after he survived the residential faculty system, after he made historical past as one of many first Indigenous gamers within the NHL, he returned dwelling to offer again,” Trudeau mentioned.
“Fred did not simply share his love of the sport with younger folks he believed in them and labored exhausting to help them, he was a champion for youth and his legacy will stay on.”
Bettman mentioned within the video tribute Sasakamoose was a pioneer who “gave a lot of himself to his group”.
“I thought of it a pleasure to satisfy him and know him, he will probably be missed,” Bettman mentioned.
Eugene Arcand, Brandon Montour, John Chabot and Reggie Leech have been amongst most of the NHL gamers to look within the video as effectively.
Cameron mentioned he and the FSIN have been clear about their messaging relating to the seriousness of COVID-19.
“Let’s all do our half to remain protected as a result of it has taken one among our leaders and a person who was effectively revered all through the First Nation nation and federal authorities.”