Matthew Coon Come Sr. passed away on February 15 at the age of 114 (or more) years old. He was born in the 1890s and was the oldest Cree Elder. When he was a little over the youthful age of 100 Coon Come was given a pair of moccasins whereupon he said that he guessed people wanted him to walk the land for a little longer. Coon Come was a man of wisdom and humour.
He was a man who had seen more changes in his lifetime than most of us can even imagine.
He was alive when the first moose was killed in 1909. He saw the first Anglican Church built in Eeyou Istchee, when airplanes started coming to Mistissini, when Crees stopped trapping beaver and established a beaver preserve. He lived through the hard times when Crees starved. He saw the first road into Mistissini, the first telephone, the first use of electricity and the first radio.
Throughout it all he lived a full and active life, one that earned him respect and honour both as a young man and an Elder. He was loved by all who knew him.
He was the grandfather of the former Cree Grand Chief and head of the Assembly of First Nations, Matthew Coon Come.
Matthew Coon Come Sr. was possibly one of the oldest people in Canada.
He passed away in the hospital in Chibougamau. His loss is a loss for all of the Cree Nation.
May he rest in peace.