The Oujé-Bougoumou community deeply mourns the passing of Joseph Shecapio-Blacksmith on November 12, 2003.

Joseph will be remembered as a passionate and dedicated advocate for the rights of his people and for his work to ensure that the Oujé-Bougoumou Eenuch would have a permanent home.

He began his personal campaign to redress the injustices experienced by his people as a Councillor on the Mistissini Band Council from 1981 to 1983. Through the Grand Council, he was the official spokesperson on behalf of the Oujé-Bougoumou people from 1981 to 1984. When Oujé-Bougoumou re-established its own Council in 1985, Joseph served as a Councillor until 1990 and then again from 1994 to 1998.

Joseph also served his community in several other capacities including those of Remedial Measures Officer, Community Development Officer, and more recently, as Environment Administrator. Joseph was a staunch defender of the environment. He was deeply involved in protecting the forests from clear-cutting and worked tirelessly to bring attention to the presence of industrial contaminants in the traditional territory and the need to remediate environmental damages.

As a further service to the community and to the Cree people of the region, Joseph served as President of the Cree Indian Centre of Chibougamau from 1981 to 1991.

Joseph’s life was about service to his family, his community, his Cree Nation, and above all, service to God.

Joseph was a deeply spiritual person who committed himself to the spiritual development of his people with the same devotion and commitment that he showed toward the social and political development of his people. He served as a member of the Oujé-Bougoumou Church Board since 1995 and was an adult Sunday school teacher since 1996. Joseph was recognized throughout the Cree Nation for his spiritual leadership and guidance.

The impact of his life’s work will be remembered for many, many generations and his memory will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him well and those whose lives he touched.