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Nipissing First Nation mourns passing of Muriel Sawyer

Muriel Sawyer, Deputy Chief, Elder and Language Keeper of Nipissing First Nation, has died. 

Chief Scott McLeod announced Sawyer’s passing on Saturday via Facebook. 

“After a brave fight with cancer, our ancestors have summoned her to the spirit world,” he stated in the video.

Sawyer was instrumental in the development of Nbissing Secondary School and was planning the 25th-anniversary celebration of the school this year. 

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“Although Muriel’s passing will leave a huge hole in our community, she will also leave an everlasting handprint on the many great things our community has and will continue to accomplish,” McLeod said.

Sawyer was also described as the “driving force” behind the preservation of Nipissing First Nation’s first language, Anishnaabemwin, which she spent a large portion of her life teaching. 

In 2009, Sawyer won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, also being featured in the Ontario College of Teachers’ magazine, Professionally Speaking. 

“I will personally miss our weekly, sometimes daily chats about community, work and family,” McLeod said. “I will miss her wisdom, knowledge and her sound advice, but most of all, I will miss her.”

Sawyer was 69 years old. 

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