Wasacase was born in 1937 on the Ochapowace First Nation.
She was raised in the Cree traditional
way and was deeply inspired by her Mosom, Walter
Ochapowace; the hereditary Chief of Ochapowace, Medicine
Man, grand orator and spiritual leader. Ida was raised
with models of commitment of service to others, and
followed this model all her life.
Ida attended Round Lake Residential School at the tender age of 5, and graduated in 1955 from the Birtle Residential School. She then attended the Manitoba Teachers College. Her teaching career took her to many places including British Columbia, Yukon and eventually Germany where she was a classroom teacher on a military base. Upon her return to Canada, she worked for the Native Education Branch of the Manitoba Department of Education. She then became a Curriculum Development Consultant with the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa.
In the early 1970's, Ida returned to Saskatchewan to begin with the arduous task of establishing the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College ( SIFC ). SIFC was an institute within FSI when Ida initiated the establishment of the first Indian controlled education institute in North America. In May 1976, the FSI reached a federated agreement with the University of Regina that resulted in the establishment of SIFC. As the first Director/President of SIFC, her main responsibility was to define the relationship between FSI, the governments and the University of Regina. Under her management in 1976-82, she initiated contact with the Indigenous peoples of South America and helped in the creation of the International Studies program within SIFC.
At this time, the Ochapowace Chief and Council were taking control of their own education system. When Ida returned home, she took the position as Director of Education. Her next job took her to Brandon University Northern Education Program where she became Centre Coordinator. As usual, Ida gave all her enthusiasm and resources to these communities.
Ida was the recipient of numerous awards and honours as a leader in Indian Education. She received the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Award. She was a renowned lecturer, speaker and advocate of Indian bilingual/bicultural education. In all this, Ida remained dedicated to her parents. Her mother became her closest confidante and precious supporter. Her sibblings, grandchildren and home reserve were never forgotten. She was a wonderful "Mother" to everyone.
Ida was a leader and activist, not only as a First Nations person, but also as a First Nations woman. She had a strong spirit. Being raised with sound First Nation values, she was confident in the love and support of her family. She took great pride in her Cree heritage and was a spiritual First Nations woman. Ida is fondly remembered by many who cherish her memory of compassion, humbleness, generosity, visionary, teacher and friend.
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