Beloved MNO citizen and Métis veteran passes
February 14, 2014
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Peter Jacques Grisdale. Pete just celebrated his 94th birthday on February 6th. He passed away peacefully the morning of February 13 with his daughter Deb by his side.
Pete like many Métis people grew up being denied his Métis heritage. He would ask his father questions like; why is our skin so dark? And the answer he would receive would be that he spent too much time in the sun. He knew in his heart though that he was Métis even if he was never able to openly be proud of who he was or where he came from.
In his 85th year, Pete learned of a meeting of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Moon River Métis Council and even though he had just undergone a second leg amputation, with the Council‘s help he was able to attend the meeting and apply for his MNO citizenship. He had been a citizen since then and was Moon River’s eldest citizen.
Pete had many accomplishments. He loved to hunt and fish; was a formidable trapper; a guide; and a boat builder. He was an amazing gunsmith; even making his own gun stalks. He was even quite the artist and he loved woodworking and created unbelievable leather work. Eight years ago Pete became a published author, when he wrote his autobiography. During a presentation honouring Pete at the 2011 MNO Annual General Assembly (AGA) President Gary Lipinski congratulated Pete for his many achievements commenting that his shining example demonstrated that it is never too late for someone to re-claim their Métis heritage.
Pete was also a Métis veteran who proudly served his country in World War II as a Royal Engineer. At the 2011 AGA, the MNO Veterans Council presented Pete with an Eagle Feather and Métis National Council (MNC) President Clement Chartier recognized his military service by presenting him with the Order of the Métis Nation, which is the highest honour the MNC can bestow. He was also recognized by the MNO Veterans’ Council with a Louis Riel certificate in 2013.
Pete’s legacy will be forever remembered in the many publications that the MNO Moon River Métis Council has published over the last several years. He was a remarkable man and will be missed by many!
A celebration of life will be held in the spring.