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Percy Tuesday (in memoriam)

PERCY TUESDAY Ogimaawigaabaw Bizhiw Nindootem April 27, 1942 to May 26, 2014 On Monday, May 26, 2014 The Reverend exited this earthly stage to take his show to the Spirit World. Percy was a proud and gifted Ojibway man, born in Big Grassy River Ojibway Nation, ON, to Robert and Martha Tuesday (nee Bluebird). Percy was the second eldest child of 10 children; he is survived and deeply missed by Delores, Martin, Rose, Lorna, and Robert. Percy was a devoted father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin and cherished friend, all were all roles that Percy celebrated and embraced with enthusiasm, commitment and joy. Some of his proudest moments were sharing the stage with his son Jason. His children Tracy, Stephanie, Jason, Otis and Robin, were blessed by Percy's devotion to them, and he enjoyed his friendship with their mother Jane; together they adopted and fostered many other children. Later in his life Percy was able to be re-united with his daughter Angeline, an occasion that brought him much joy. He will be deeply missed by them. As a child Percy endured 12 cruel years in six residential schools. While he always carried these experiences, he dedicated his life to making them into something positive. He became an addictions counsellor in an era with few supports for urban Aboriginal persons and was proud to achieve 27 years of sobriety, and to have quit smoking 18 years ago. Percy was the change he wished to see. Percy was a loving partner to Linda, they met in 1996 at the Folklorama First Nations Pavilion and shared 18 years of intense joy with his music and their community volunteer work, and their respective families. He is lovingly remembered and deeply missed by Linda and her children and grandsons. Percy contributed his time to many organizations throughout the past 40 years, but he was especially proud of founding the Chief Big Bear Gathering in 1998, with Linda, which was held for 10 years at the Stony Mountain and Rockwood Institutions in honour of peace and healing persons in custody. Music, mainly classic country and blues, flowed from Percy's soul through his vocals and guitar. The gentle and soft-spoken man off-stage unleashed The Reverend under a spotlight, exploding onto Winnipeg's music scene at the Indian & Métis Friendship Centre in the late 60s. He was lead vocalist for "The Feathermen Band," which at the time was one of very few all-Indigenous touring musical groups in Canada. He was once scheduled to play with Johnny Cash at Stony Mountain Institution, but the show was cancelled at the last minute due to an illness in Johnny Cash's family. Percy was extremely proud to be inducted into the Aboriginal Country Music Hall of Fame in September, 2013. Percy will always be remembered for his music, dry wit, sense of humour, wisdom, traditional teachings, and storytelling, which will continue through those who loved him. Whatever stage he was on, Percy always thanked the band. He would likewise want to extend heartfelt appreciation to his devoted fans throughout the years, to all of his special medical care givers, and also to Neil Bardal and Northridge Funeral Homes for their part in carrying him home to Big Grassy. Thank you to all of the most special friends who helped Linda with Percy's Celebration of Life, Love and Friendship party on April 17, 2014 and to everyone who shared the evening with them at the IMFC, where The Reverend put on his guitar and sang for a crowd one more time. Kitchi Meegwetch to Percy's dear friend and most respected Elder Gilbert Smith, who led the traditional ceremonies, and to his Big Grassy family and community members who welcomed Percy home and looked after all the arrangements for the ceremonies on May 30 and May 31, 2014. Meegwetch Percy, wish we could have one more encore!

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 07, 2014

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