Chief Skidegate honoured

  • Mar. 5, 2008 11:00 a.m.

Chief Skidegate-Dempsey Collinson is remembered by many islanders as a generous, caring chief who was always on the lookout for his people. As a mark of respect following his passing, Sk’aadgaa Naay School in Skidegate was closed Monday, and many flags were at half-staff, including those at the school board office, DFO and the RCMP in Queen Charlotte. In the Legislature in Victoria, Premier Gordon Campbell, himself a visitor to Skidegate just a few weeks ago, said the following:Hon. G. Campbell: Today it’s with great sadness that I inform the House of the passing of Dempsey Collinson, a hereditary chief of the Haida First Nation, Chief Skidegate. Dempsey was 78 years old. He lost his life in the waters off the Queen Charlotte Islands while preparing to go by boat to the gow fishery this past weekend. For all of us who know the Haida, he was a strong and a passionate defender of their culture and their people. He was one of the elders who went dressed in Haida garb to New York City to retrieve and reclaim Haida human remains that were there. At that time he said: “Now we have all of them home, and I’m happy they’re all here.” I know, for all of us, our thoughts go to the Haida First Nation, who are wrestling with this loss. I would ask that the House send their condolences to the first nation and to the members of the family of Chief Skidegate.