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NAN Mourns Passing of Long-Serving Leader & Residential School Advocate Michael Cachagee

Press Release

July 17, 2023

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum, on behalf of the Executive Council, shares heartfelt condolences following the passing of long-serving leader and Indian Residential School advocate Michael Cachagee Senior, of Chapleau Cree First Nation:

“We are very saddened that our dear friend has begun his journey to the Spirit World. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the entire Chapleau Cree community.

Michael was a trailblazer through his advocacy for Residential School Survivors and provided tremendous support to help them through their trauma. He was adamant that the history of the Indian Residential School system must never be forgotten, and he fought against the destruction of the records documenting the experiences of more than 38,000 Survivors.

Michael’s life of leadership includes serving as Chief of the Fox Lake community and lead negotiator in the Treaty Land Entitlement claims process. He was a member of NAN’s Governance and Education negotiating team, our representative in tri-lateral Treaty Discussion Forums, and also served as political advisor to past Grand Chiefs.

We honour his life of leadership by supporting Survivors, their families, and communities, and continuing his work so the children who did not make it home are never forgotten.”

From the age of three, Michael Cachagee spent more than 12 years in the Indian Residential School system. He attended St. John’s Indian Residential School in Chapleau, Bishop Horden Indian Residential School in Moose Factory, and Shingwauk Indian Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie.

He continued his education by earning a political science degree from Algoma University in 1994. He was awarded the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and made an honorary member of Algoma University in 2017. He continued to promote education as Native Student Advisor at Algoma University College and Dean of Native Studies at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.

Cachagee was a founding member and president of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, an intergenerational Residential School Survivor organization. They helped document the history of the Shingwauk school and advocated for Survivors during the IRS Settlement Agreement process as a founding partner of the National Residential School Survivor Society.

A ceremony and celebration of life will take place Wednesday, July 19, 2023, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., with Traditional Ceremony at 10 a.m. in Sault Ste. Marie. Please join us in sharing love and prayers with his family and the Chapleau Cree community over the days ahead.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca

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