Nishnawbe Aski Nation mourns the passing of leader, Bill Mamakeesic

With the sudden death of Bill Mamakeesic on Wednesday, July 11 in Thunder Bay, Nishnawbe Aski Nation has lost another well known leader. Bill was the first Chief of Keewaywin First Nation in the late 1980's. Bill worked hard with the elders and community members to begin building a new community on the traditional lands of the people in that region. Later as Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Bill expanded his vision across NAN for strong and healthy communities in each of the portfolios and especially in education for which he was responsible.

During his second term as Chief of Keewaywin in the mid 1990's, Bill worked with the other Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak supporting the development of K-Net. He always looked for ways to ensure that the communities could prosper and grow. Bill worked to protect the Native language and encourage young people to contribute to their communities. The vision he shared with Keewaytinook Okimakanak involved providing the tools for the people to have meaningful lives wherever they chose to live.

Geordi Kakepetum recalls how “Bill always advocated for more services, activities and opportunities that would benefit the young people in his community and across Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Everyone remembers different accomplishments and efforts that Bill put forth on behalf of the Nishnawbe Aski.” One recent effort included Bill's representation of the Chiefs of Keewaytinook Okimakanak on the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council Board of Directors for the past several years.

Keewaytinook Okimakanak extends its sympathy to Bill's family, the people of Keewaywin First Nation and across Nishnawbe Aski Nation, as we honour and remember Bill.