Sgt David Ahenakew, LL.D. (Hon), CD (Ret'd)
We regret to advise of the death of David Ahenakew on 12 March 2010 in Shellbrook, SK at the age of 76 years.
David was born on the Sandy Lake reserve in northern Saskatchewan and joined the Royal Canadian Engineers in 1951. He served in the Canadian Army for 16 years until 1967, during which time served with the 57th Field Squadron during the Korean War, Egypt and Vietnam and was stationed in Germany and Chilliwack, amongst other locations. His medals include the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal and the 125th Anniversary of Confederation.
Upon leaving the Regular Force, David joined the Reserve Force at the rank of Sergeant. Immediately upon his release from the Regular Force, David Ahenakew held a position with the Saskatchewan government and became active in the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Within a year he was elected to the position of FSIN President at age 35 - the youngest man ever elected as chief of the FSIN. He served ten years in that position. During his time as FSIN president he released a report entitled "Indian Education in Saskatchewan" and played a role in the founding of the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College and the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in 1972.
David was awarded held an honorary LL.D. Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1976 for his human rights work. In 1978, he received the John Stratychuk Memorial Award from the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission In 1982, he was elected Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the national representative body for Canadian aboriginals. He was a founding member of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He will be remembered as a courageous and intelligent native leader whose career was a major achievement for indigenous people.
The funeral for David Ahenakew was held on 16 March 2010 on the Ahtahkakoop First Nation where he was born and raised.