things and his helpful nature as a leader for both native andnon-native peoples.Like many speakers, Beausoleil First Nation Chief Roland Monague said
he will always remember Andrew Mixemong‟s love of life and laughter.
“It‟s hard to think about that today,” Monague said, “but he alwayswas there to tell you a story and would always make you laugh.”
Traditional Ojibway-Anishinabe teacher Jim Dumont told thecongregation Andrew Mixemong will be known by his spirit nameNeezhodah as he enters the afterlife.
“He‟s going back home, he‟s going back to the realm of the spirit,” Dumont said. “Over there, they only know him as Neezhodah. „Finally,you have come home.‟”
Dumont said Mixemong proved to be an effective healer throughouthis life.
“Laughter is th
e greatest healer you can give somebody. He brought a
lot of healing to people through laughter.”
Neddrye Green travelled from Toronto to speak as a tribute to his good
friend. He recalled Mixemong‟s strength and good humour throughout
a four-day and four-night fast the pair embarked on many years ago
while Bev Mixemong remembered her brother‟s gentleness and warm
“I am so overwhelmed and I know my brother would have been so
happy that he brought such a cross-
section of people together,” she
said.Prior to the service, native elder Hector Copegog performed a smudgeceremony where mourners could be cleansed by being enveloped witha sage-based incense.
“It‟s a very important part of the service,” Copegog explained. “The
smudge helps people in grief and sorrow. In our tradition, we want toclean everything and have people of one mind. Cleansing the spirit
clears everything up.”
Mixemong died July 6 at Georgian Bay General Hospital shortly afteran incident occurred outside a local eatery where he had gone to meethis wife who had just finished her shift.Police say they were dispatched to a disturbance outside thedowntown Midland restaurant where a woman was apparently being
harassed by two men upset they couldn‟t be served since it was closed
for the day.
Following a post mortem at the Chief Coroner‟s office in Toronto earlierin the week, Mixemong‟s body was returned to Christian Island where
he grew up and much of his family still lives.Throughout the week, a series of traditional native events took placeto honour Mixemong, including the lighting of a sacred fire that hasbeen burning since news of his death reached the tight-knit, native