Life Chief Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict of Akwesasne Passes Away – January 8, 2011

Akwesasne Mohawk Territory – This arrived from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

It is with deep sadness that the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne announces the passing of one of our communities’ most respected elders, Condoled Life Chief Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict, on the morning of January 8, 2011.

Mr. Benedict was exemplary in every sense of the word, and in every aspect of his life’s work.  Ernest was one of the first Akwesasronon, and one of the few First Nations people in Canada at the time, to earn a Bachelor’s degree, graduating from St. Lawrence University in 1940.   His distinction as a college graduate marked the beginning of a long, courageous and innovative journey  – as a soldier in the 50th Signal Battalion in WWII; a grade-school teacher; a labourer and electrician; a Chief; a writer; a university professor; defender of Aboriginal rights; an historian; a father, grandfather and great grandfather; and a mentor for the many, many people who admired his quiet wisdom.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne extends its condolences to the family and friends of Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict.  Like his teachings and his voice, his passing will be felt around the world and by people of all ages and cultures.  To those who were fortunate enough to sit and talk with Ernest, or to learn from him, or to have him laugh with you, we offer our sincere sympathies, and we hope that his inspiring words stay with you always.”

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