NAHO Expresses Condolences on the Passing of Elder William Commanda

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On hearing the news today of the passing of Elder William Commanda NAHO expresses its deepest condolences to his family.  Grandfather Commanda will be missed, but his wisdom and spiritual leadership have made an indelible mark on Aboriginal peoples and Canada that will be carried on for generations.

Elder Commanda participated in events and ceremonies at the United Nations, with Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, and organized national and international gatherings of Elders and world leaders.  He became known as “Grandfather” in honour of the respect accorded him by other Elders and people of all nations. Grandfather Commanda has been recognized through many awards including: Honourary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 2005; Key to the Capital City in 2006; Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008; and Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in 2010. Elder Commanda will be most remembered for his role as Elder and spiritual leader and bringing together people from all cultures to further peace.

A highly respected and well known Anishinabe (Algonquin) Elder from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec, Commanda was born in 1913.  He was the great grandson of hereditary Algonquin chief Pakinawatik who led his people to settle in their traditional hunting and trapping grounds in the Ottawa River area in 1854. He worked as a guide, trapper, birch bark canoe maker and craftsman of international renown. He served as Chief of Kitigan Zibi for over nineteen years, from 1951 to 1970.

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