We Are All Treaty People

Statement from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner on the passing of Fred Sasakamoose

  • Published - 25/11/2020
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is saddened by the news of the death of Fred Sasakamoose. We send our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and the people of Ahtahkakoop and Big River First Nations.

Sasakamoose was a community leader, chief and band council member for 30 years at Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, a strong residential school survivor, and a trailblazer for Indigenous hockey players.

“He was a hero from Treaty 6. Before we could vote, before we could become lawyers and doctors he was breaking glass ceilings, unknowingly paving the ways for those of us who might not have thought we could reach those places! Rest easy Fast Freddy,” said Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson in a post online.

He was one of the first Indigenous hockey players to play for the NHL as a centre for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. He played 11 games before returning to serve his communities, including using sports to provide opportunities for Indigenous youth.

Sasakamoose was admitted to hospital for treatment for COVID-19 last week. In a video, his son Neil Sasakamoose asked people to stay safe, to listen to officials, and take measures to stay healthy. He also offered some words about his father.

“He believed in his culture, his language, his people, he believed in us getting along with non-native people, races around the world. He believed in a lot of good qualities of what we should be striving for,” he said.