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Born into a family noted for their fleetness of foot, Paul Acoose made his mark in the world by showing it that he had the stamina and speed of his ancestors.
Paul Acoose was a man of great Indian background. He died recently but his legend lives on. He was born to Samuel, who was well known for his hunting and running abilities. There are two story-type legends that should be heard about Samuel as a tribute to the Acoose families today, and to Paul. Samuel's father was known as Kewwich, but little is really known in todays generation.
"Samuel was visiting the Whitebear people, over 50 miles from Sakimay. While there he saw seven elk and thought he must put his hunting skills to test. He reached back in the hood of his jacket to find the bullets to his rifle. He found none!! Not wanting to lose sight of the elk, Samuel quickly decided to keep after them. He seldom used a horse, or not at all, which meant he would have to keep after the elk on foot, he did, although the darting elk were trying to elude him. He kept on the tail of these elk the distance of nearly 100 miles. The elk could run no further and lay panting by a lake near Crooked Lake Indian Agency. Samuel then ran to a store near the Agency returned with some bullets and shot the elk."
"Samuel turned the milestone age of 60 years, but did not retire. To prove himself he challenged Paul, King and a third young Indian Felix Penepekesik to a five mile race. The three young men were also eager to prove themselves and be accepted. They probably did not want to be beaten by the older, Samuel, so off they raced. To their amazement Samuel did not allow either of them to overtake him and went on over the five mile mark far ahead of them."
Paul must have grew up inspired by his father. He is recognized as a great long-distance runner. He ran in neighboring communities and won many times. Soon the local competitions in Summerbury and Regina were not enough for him. W.J. Patterson who shortly became his manager and his trainers, Billy Patterson and John McLeod. (Patterson was later Saskatchewan's Premier and Lieutenant Governor).
Paul started running in competitions before he was twenty. In his early races he specialized in the fivemile event, this competition being run locally from a point near Summerberry eastwards. Soon after, he won a 10-mile country race at Regina. This race took him and other competitors across ditches, gullies and fences. The fences Paul leapt over like a hurdler in full stride.
At Winnipeg, Paul raced against Alfred Schrubb, a well-known English distance runner, beating him easily.
English champion, Appleby, was next to fall behind the young Indian at the finish line. This was a 15-mile race with a return match arranged. It is believed, however, that gambling interests were involved in the second race and he was forced to quit because someone deliberately put tacks on the track which pierced through his moccasins.
Paul also came up against professional John D. Marsh in a 10-mile race and defeated him. He ran in New York at the famous Madison Square Gardens against some fifteen top notch competitors. Paul finished second, having complained of feeling ill before the race began.
"Paul still holds a world record," says Chief Joe Williams, "in a race against Tom Longboat he ran 26 miles in two hours, twenty minutes, twenty-two seconds."
"In the time of Pauls days he was not only a great leader, but also a very religious man, believing strongly in the Roman Catholic faith. He attended church service every Sunday for as long as he was able to do so," Chief Williams told the congregation.
"We have lost a great man. He was the oldest member of our Band and one of the best persons I have ever known." says Williams in the Eulogy. Paul was laid to rest at the Sakimay Indian reserve. Interment was in the Parish Cemetary.
In August this year, Paul and his wife would have observed their 70th Wedding Anniversary.
Predeceased by two sons and a daughter, he is survived by his wife, five sons, four daughter, a brother King Acoose, 53 grandchildren, and 63 great grandchildren.