JUNE 9, 2014

GWICH’IN NOVELIST/ACTIVIST CHIEF ROBERT ARTHUR ALEXIE DIED

Born on July 22, 1957, and raised in Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, after completing a public and business administration program, Alexie returned to Fort McPherson as manager for the Tetlit Gwich’in Band Council.  Elected chief in 1989, he served for 2 years before being appointed chief negotiator for the Gwich’in land claim.  Alexie spent 13 years as executive director of the Gwich’in Land and Water Board before getting elected president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council in 2012.  In addition to politics, he was an author, poet & musician.  His novels included Porcupines and China Dolls (2002) and The Pale Indian (2005).  Alexie, was a major force behind the Gwich’in regional land claim in 1992.  The Gwich’in negotiated their own claim after a comprehensive claim for all five Dene groups and the Métis collapsed in 1990.  In 2002, Alexie was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal for contributions to his community and to Canada.  He died in Fort McPherson.

Source:  “Robert Alexie Jr. found dead on Dempster Highway,” CBC, 6/10/2014.  Retrieved 7/2/2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/robert-alexie-jr-found-dead-on-dempster-highway-1.2671016
Medal:  Helensq, 4/2/2017. Jubilee Medal 2002 Canadian version, obverse. Permissive Use.

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