Jimmy Hunter-Spence (June 20, 1943 to January 13, 2024)
It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of Jimmy Hunter-Spence, Wapiski Ohow ka apit (White Snow Owl Sitting), our humble, wise Kehtiyatis (Elder), a member of the Muskwa Ototema (Bear Clan).
Jimmy is survived by his beloved spouse Sarah Spence (Neckoway) and their daughters Connie Massan, Valerie Massan, Louise Spence (Jody Linklater), Mandy Spence (Jason Bonner), grandchildren Troy Massan, Grant Massan, Leah Massan, Darryl Henderson, Joson Spence, Bubba/Jesse Henderson, Misko Chartrand, Zoongide Chartrand, Chloe Linklater, Whisper Chartrand, Layla Linklater, Sarah Spence, Cameron Spence and Toby Spence, as well as numerous other grandchildren and great grandchildren both biological and traditionally adopted, siblings Etta Dumas, Arabella McDonald, Elizabeth Linklater, Elmer Spence, and Frederick Spence.
Jimmy was born at Nelson House, Manitoba. At a young age before he was sent to residential school in Birtle, his grandparents taught him how to live off the land. His grandmother taught him to be thankful everyday for the blessings one has and he continued to pray to Kihche-Manitou (Creator) daily up to the time of his passing.
Jimmy left residential school after grade 11 and took an electrical course at Red River Community College then returned to the north. He worked for Manitoba Telephone System for 27 years. He was also a member of Chief and Council from 1986 to 1988 and then from 1998 to 2006. He was a major part of all major NCN negotiations whether on or off Council including the NFA Comprehensive Implementation Agreement, the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement, the Wuskwatim Project Development Agreement, Community Tripartite Agreement for policing.
Jimmy was an inaugural member of the Wuskwatim General Partnership Board from 2005 until the spring of 2023. He was also a member of the TLE Committee, the UCN Council of Elders and the NCN Peacekeepers Tribunal, Land Code Advisory Committee and many others committees. Jimmy believed it is very important to be a good role model, to instill self-confidence, pride and motivation in our youth. He believed maintaining Nehethowewin (our language) and Nehetho (our culture) are critical for preserving our identity but he was accepting of all peoples, religions and cultures. He loved to learn and spent as much time as he could outdoors picking medicines and being connected with the land. He loved to speak with people and shared his knowledge in a very caring, positive and respectful way.
He continued to attend meetings right up to December 21, 2023 as he believed it was important to contribute and provide guidance as long as he could. His health then took a turn for the worse but he was at peace with Kiche-Manitou and also acknowledged the Lord who will protect and help him on his journey to the spirit world where we know he will continue to provide us with guidance for Michimahch’ohci (time immemorial).
The viewing, procession, wake and funeral arrangements will be announced shortly on the NCN website, Facebook, the Boardman Funeral Home website. In the meantime, the family acknowledges and gives thanks to the staff at Thompson General Hospital for the care given to Jimmy. It was greatly appreciated.