JULY 13, 1929


Basil, born on Wasauksing First Nation (FN), near Parry Sound, Ontario (ON), was raised at Neyaashiinigmiing FN. In 1939, Basil attended St. Peter Claver’s School, a Jesuit-run residential school in Spanish, ON. In Indian School Days (Key Porter, 1988), Johnston details the abuse he endured there. Despite this, he was high school class valedictorian and, at Loyola College in Montréal, played varsity hockey & graduated with honors. After teaching history in North York (1962-70), he became a lecturer at the Royal ON Museum (ROM) focusing on Indigenous storytelling. He authored 25 books in English & 5 books in & audio programs for teaching the Anishinaabemowin language; published; and collected & recorded Anishinaabe stories. Awards: Order of ON; 125th Anniversary, Confederation of Canada Medal; Queen’s Jubilee Medal; Indspire Award; and Anskohk Aboriginal Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. Retiring in 1995 to Neyaashiinigmiing, he taught & wrote until his death on September 8, 2015.

Source: Brendan f. R. Edwards, 4/10/2008, “Basil H. Johnston,” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12/26/2021, Basil H. Johnston | The Canadian Encyclopedia
Photo: Jesuits of English Canada, 1913.  Spanish Indian Residential School for boys in Spanish, Ontario, 1913. Public Domain.  Source: Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number C-025640 and under the MIKAN ID number 3358565
Algoma University Archives, Spanish indian residential schools early years photo album | Algoma University Archives

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