In 2011, I travelled to the Cree community of Weenusk on the Winisk River, not far from the Hudson Bay coast. I was invited to address the Chiefs of the Mushkegowuk Council, during one of their meetings by Grand Chief Stan Louttit. My presentation was about Important Bird Areas. Grand Chief Louttit made me feel confortable and at ease for my short presentation, and offered me advice, in his special humous way, that has proven very important in developing our collaborations with the Cree. A year or two later, I was visiting Moose Factory and dropped in to his office. Again he welcomed me warmly, and went out of his way to help me with my efforts to work with the council on the topic of bird conservation and Important Bird Areas. He supported our efforts, but also understood that to gain community support, I would have to understand the community values, including that the birds that interested most community members are the ones that are eaten – geese, ducks and grouse primarily. That was my personal experience with the Grand Chief. I am honoured to have had these experiences with him. I also know that his efforts to defend and advance the rights of his people and support the many First Nations within the Mushkegowuk Council were impressive and very important.
I wish to express our deepest sympathies to his family and people, and acknowledge the great loss that has occurred with his passing.
on behalf of Nature Canada