Manitoba elder Dave Courchene Jr., founder of Indigenous education centre, dies at 71

A Manitoba elder who founded an internationally-recognized centre that shares Indigenous knowledge and teachings has died at age 71.

The Turtle Lodge Center of Excellence in Indigenous Education and Wellness says in a social media post that Dave Courchene Jr. died Wednesday morning.

It says he died peacefully at his home at Sagkeeng First Nation surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

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Courchene founded the lodge at the First Nation in southern Manitoba in 2002 as a gathering place to facilitate intergenerational knowledge, language revitalization, youth leadership training and environmental solutions to climate change.

The centre also says the Anishinaabe elder shared the stage with other spiritual leaders over the years, including the Dalai Lama.

Courchene was recognized for his work at a special event last month when Gov. Gen. Mary Simon thanked him for his determination, wisdom and perseverance in protecting Indigenous knowledge and the environment.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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