THUNDER BAY – Chief Celia Echum the Chief of Ginoogaming passed away unexpectedly on Saturday. The news has saddened and shocked people across the region. Chief Echum brought a lifetime of service and experience to her community, and to the entire region.
Messages of condolences have started coming in from across Ontario.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, sends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and community of Ginoogaming First Nation following the sudden passing of Chief Celia Echum:
“We are very saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend Celia Echum. Her sudden death comes as a shock to all of us, and words cannot capture the grief that we share with her family, friends, and the Ginoogaming and Matawa communities. Celia believed in a better future for her community and the people of NAN. She made tremendous efforts to improve her community and strengthen our Nation, and her leadership and friendship will be greatly missed by all of us. While our ability to grieve together physically is limited during this time, we want the community to know that we join them in prayer, and we will find other ways to offer comfort to the family.”
Celia Echum worked in her community’s administration and served as a Councillor for more than 25 years. She was first elected as Chief in 2007 and was elected to her seventh consecutive term in August 2019. Her husband, Gabriel Echum, a long-serving Chief and Councillor, passed away in 2013.
As Chief, Celia was the driving force behind the ongoing Ginoogaming First Nation Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) Claim that will see the governments of Ontario and Canada provide land and financial compensation for lands owed to the community under Treaty No. 9.
Details on funeral services have yet to be announced. We ask everyone to keep those who are mourning in their prayers in the difficult days ahead.