Much of the Beaufort Delta is in mourning this week after a well-known Elder passed away Nov. 6.
Born around Husky Lakes in 1934 to both Inuvialuit and Gwich’in parents, Edward Lennie (Inglangasuk) was a lifelong ambassador of the North. His contributions to the north were numerous but he probably best known for his work in restoring the Northern Games in the early 1960s to their current glory.
“The loss of Edward cuts deep into our community and our thoughts are now with the family. We all prayed for him and hoped he would make another recovery,” said Inuvialuit Regional Corporation CEO Duane Smith. “Edward is a respected Elder and leader within our community; we will mourn him and the many others we continue to lose during these difficult times.”
Lennie’s passion for the Northern Games continued throughout his life, including his participation in the Northern Games Summit at East Three School in February of this year. He was a strong coach for children and taught them wisdom such as to never use the words “I can’t.”
His family served as a safe haven for many foster children throughout the years and Lennie was also known for helping youth by teaching traditional practices on the land. He was awarded an Indspire Award in 2003, though at the time it was still known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
“We lost a pillar of the Delta community today,” said Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith. “Edward Lennie was a prime example of the Inuvialuit-Gwich’in partnership. An entrepreneur, Indigenous advocate, family man and one who lived a true traditional lifestyle.
“He was also a great square dance caller and an avid dancer. We will miss you uncle Edward and Hai’ Choo/Quyanainni for the great example you have set for us to follow. Condolences go out to his family and may the memory of all that he has done for the North provide some comfort to you all!”
Lennie was also a long-time member of the Inuviluit Enrolment Committee, which reviewed all applications for acceptance into the Inuvialuit Trust.
A funeral is being planned that will be broadcast online, though details are still being worked out.
Upon word of his death, tributes poured in from across the Beaufort Delta.
“Today we lost a huge part of our history,” said Inuvik-Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler. “May you rest now Uncle Edward.”