Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Edward “Ediiwa” Erasmus

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Edward “Ediiwa” Erasmus

by ahnationtalk on August 3, 202249 Views

August 2, 2022

The Tłı̨chǫ Nation mourns the loss of a great leader, teacher, and part of our family. Edward “Ediiwa” Erasmus will always be remembered for his role in negotiating and furthering rights for the Tłı̨chǫ and Indigenous people across the north, but also for his role in our self-government through his leadership as Grand Chief.

Ediiwa was a leader and visionary in the Tłı̨chǫ Nation but equally important, Ediiwa was a family man. He loved his family and they were his heart and soul.  He embodied being a teacher, leader and story teller at home first and foremost.  To Ediiwa’s wife Frances, his children and grandchildren, our deepest condolences for your loss. His kind and gentle manner were a gift that made him a great teacher for his family and for all who knew him.

Ediiwa led us with humility, strength, and humour. Ediiwa loved sharing his knowledge, culture, and stories of the Tłı̨chǫ people.  In every way, he embodied the wisdom of the elders and has been an integral part of helping the Tłı̨chǫ Nation get to where it is today.  He believed in the Tłı̨chǫ Government, the importance of self-government, and the right of all Tłı̨chǫ people to determine their own future on their own terms. 

Ediiwa will be greatly missed by so many, but his legacy and vision will continue to live on in his children and grandchildren as well as in so many who had the pleasure to simply be in his presence. 

The Tłı̨chǫ Flag will be at half mast this week in honour of the late Edward “Ediiwa” Erasmus

Our thoughts and prayers to Edward “Ediiwa” Erasmus family and friends. The Funeral will be on August 3rd at 2 pm at St. Michael’s Funeral, Behchokǫ̀, NT.

For more information please contact [email protected]

Below is summary tribute on Edward  “Ediiwa” Erasmus (DOB:  July 17, 1952 – July 29, 2022)

Ediiwa’s parents were Jim and Liza Erasmus.  His mother was at the Charles Camsell hospital for a number of years for TB and so Ediiwa was custom adopted by Alex and Elizabeth Charlo.  Ediiwa was taught by his adoptive parents in the traditional way and was fluent in the Tłı̨chǫ language.  Ediiwa had many biological and adoptive siblings.

Ediiwa was a leader and visionary in the Tłı̨chǫ Nation and it would be very easy to start with this vast and impactful career but most importantly Ediiwa was a family man. He loved his family and they were his heart and soul.  He embodied being a teacher, leader and story teller at home first and foremost.  He married Frances Beaulieu on January 1, 1978 and together they created a home that welcomed all.  They have 5 adult children: Fay, Ian, Lillian, Jenny and Edie.  Their house was soon filled with 15 grandchildren.  He loved being a father and grandfather- they were his pride and joy. Ediiwa believed in the importance of sharing his Tłı̨chǫ culture, language and way of life and for him that started in his home.  His kind and gentle manner were a gift that made him a great teacher for his family and for all who knew him.

Ediiwa had a long and impactful career in the Tłı̨chǫ Region.  He began by going to Fort Smith Teacher Vocational School and then taught at Chief Jimmy Bruneau School. Ediiwa served as the first radio operator for the local radio station. Ediiwa was then hired as Executive Director of the Dogrib Tribal Council in early 1983.  He was the Chief for Dogrib Rae Band and was also the Grand Chief from 1990 – 1993. It was under Ediiwa’s leadership as Grand Chief that the Tłı̨chǫ decided to pursue Land Claims Agreement in 1992.

Ediiwa was part of the negotiating team that negotiated the Tłı̨chǫ Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement from 1992 until it was finalized in 2003, and was part of the transition team from 2003 -2005.  The team worked closely with the Elders Advisory on the Tłı̨chǫ Constitution.  As the Lands Negotiator, Ediiwa was instrumental in ensuring the Tłı̨chǫ received indigenous rights to the Mǫwhì Gogha Dè Nı̨ı̨tłèè and the fee simple title to Tłı̨chǫ Lands, surface and sub-surface. He was appointed Chair of the Tłı̨chǫ Enrolment Committee from 2005 – 2007.  Ediiwa was the first Director for the Department of Tłı̨chǫ Lands Protection from 2005 – 2011.  Under his directorship, Ediiwa oversaw the completion of the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan.

Ediiwa ran for Grand Chief in a by-election in 2011 and became the Grand Chief from 2011 – 2013. He was re-elected Grand Chief and served a term, 2013 – 2017.

  • Provided overall political leadership for the Tłı̨chǫ and believed in Tłı̨chǫ Unity.
  • Was a team builder and worked in unity with the Tłı̨chǫ leadership
  • Communicated with the Tłı̨chǫ Chiefs on a regular basis
  • Supported the work of the staff and resources team on many files such as fiscal renewal and protecting the WLWB from being dismantled
  • Ensured Tłı̨chǫ language, culture and way of life was Tłı̨chǫnized into all that the Tłı̨chǫ Government worked on
  • Worked with many leaders with respect and in collaboration

After his term as Grand Chief ended, Ediiwa continued his work for the Tłı̨chǫ people in numerous ways. He was the Chair for Tłı̨chǫ Investment Corporation as appointed in February 2020 and was appointed to the Wekeezhii Renewable Resources Board in 2018. Ediiwa was always asked for his advice and leadership in so many different ways and by so many groups over the years.

In service of the Tłı̨chǫ people and in his many roles Ediiwa was supported by his wife Frances, or Goolie as she is known by many. They were a team and life-long partners. She stood by Ediiwa and worked endlessly in her many roles. As the wife of the Grand Chief, she has fed many people and their home was always open and welcoming to all visitors. Together they created a place that was not only a home for their children and grandchildren but a place that became home to many.

Ediiwa loved sharing his knowledge, culture, and stories of the Tłı̨chǫ peopleIn every way, he embodied the wisdom of the elders and has been an integral part of helping the Tłı̨chǫ Nation get to where it is todayHe believed in the Tłı̨chǫ Government, the importance of self-government, and the right of all Tłı̨chǫ people to determine their own future on their own terms. Ediiwa will be greatly missed by so many, but his legacy and vision will continue to live on in his children and grandchildren as well as in so many who had the pleasure to simply be in his presence.

NT5

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