It is with sadness that we hear of the passing of Bawdwaywidun (Eddie Benton Banai), Grand Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge on Monday, November 30, 2020. The First Nations with Schools Collective wishes to extend our deepest condolences to his family, extended family and lodge family across Turtle Island.
He committed his life to fighting for the cultivation of Anishinaabe way of life in its most customary form – in lodge and in ceremony. He was raised Mide, in the language, and made it his life’s purpose to invite Midewiwin life into the hearts of the people again.
His life’s work is evident in the many families who walk with confidence and pride in who they are as Anishinaabe. He brought the Creation Story and its importance to them in ceremony, time and time again.
It is for this reason, the FNWSC would like to acknowledge the wisdom he carried. Many of the knowledge keepers that the FNWSC seeks guidance from come from the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge. We have had Onaubinosay (Jim Dumont) on several occasions speak to us about Anishinaabek governance traditions as Anishinaabek principles. Jim Dumont is the Eastern Doorway Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, the lodge that Bawdwaywidun built. We are forever grateful for the knowledge Bawdwaywidun has left for Midewiwin and educators to nourish and build stronger just as he envisioned.
Rest easy Grand Chief ba, while your work is done here on Earth, know that you have left us the most incredible gifts. The many teaching bundles you gave so generously will be carefully protected and cultivated into the education systems you spoke so passionately about. Safe travels Bawdwaywidun, Miigwech Miigwech Miigwech Miigwech.