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Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
- by Hector Paul
The Chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians paid tribute with a moment of silence to the memory of Senator Roy Musqua during the All Chiefs Conference, April 14-16, in Saskatoon. Musqua died in Yorkton on March 3, and funeral services were held at St. Philip's Roman Catholic Church on March 6. Graveside rites were performed by members of the Kamsack branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Like his Indian name with all its powerful connotations, which means 'the Leading Thunderbird', Senator Musqua spent his entire lifetime crusading for the self determination of Indian people and served as either chief or councillor of the Keeseekoose Reserve for the past 30 years. Keeseekoose is approximately 200 miles northeast of Regina.
He was a profound believer and a firm advocate of the Indian religious and cultural movement. For years, he had repeatedly warned against the erosion of the Indian traditions and urged their revival through the teaching of the young in the home environment. But before adults can teach, they have to know. He loved to tell stories. Visitors to his home always left with another legend of Nanabush.
Although a mixed farmer, he was also extremely fond of raising horses. He raced them in the neighboring bush tracks. As manager of the St. Philips Rangers of Keeseekoose for the past 25 years, he led the hockey team to some spectacular championship games in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Musqua was born and raised in the Keeseekoose Reserve and in 1924 married the former Nellie Brass at Kamsack. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1944 for a period of one year. Musqua worked to raise his family by farming on the reserve or working in Alberta lumber camps according to the dictates of seasons.
But above all, he was a family man; husband, father, grandfather, brother. He is survived by his wife Nellie; five sons, Wilfred of North Delta, B.C., Miles, Dan and Albert of Keeseekoose and Felix of Saskatoon; seven daughters, Pauline Pelly, Mabel and Joyce Whitehawk of the Cote Reserve, Doris Quewezance and Linda Musqua of Keeseekoose, Georgina Pelletier of Yorkton and Francis Culbertson of Pelly; and one sister, Dorothy Crowe of Keeseekoose, 84 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren.
And his spirit lives on.
Several of his children have picked up the torch for self-determination of Indian people. He was a pioneer.