WIIKWEMKOONG—For many years his was the voice of the powwow on Manitoulin, but late Monday afternoon The Expositor was shocked and saddened to learn that Chris Pheasant of Wiikwemkoong had begun his spirit journey.

Mr. Pheasant had struggled with serious health issues for several years and had become a vocal advocate for The Gift of Life following his own liver transplant a few years ago. He had recently retired from the Wikwemikong Board of Education to spend more time with family and a few projects of his own.

“This is a tremendous loss for not only our community, but for the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes,” said Wiikwemkoong Ogimaa Duke Peltier. “He made great contributions to many communities and was very active in the restoration of the powwow. As a knowledge keeper he was very open in his teachings and would go to any community where he was invited.”

Ogimaa Peltier spoke of Mr. Pheasant’s skill as an emcee and speaker. “He tried to bring positivity to all the celebrations he was a part of,” he said.

During a 2014 diabetes conference just a few months following his transplant, Mr. Pheasant said that he had a dream, a vision, where he saw the land. “Our bodies are of the earth,” he said. “When we die, we go back to the earth and our spirits go on to be with the Creator.” The liver that is now part of his body, he said, will one day return to the earth. “We need to reach out, to talk about it with our families,” he said. “Make your wishes known.”

Mr. Pheasant’s pleasant, softspoken and open demeanor earned him the nickname “The Pleasant” Pheasant and his steady and humorous banter livened up many powwow events and other celebrations covered by The Expositor over the years.

Hundreds of tributes have been pouring in to social media sites since news of the passing of Mr. Pheasant. He will be deeply missed.

Baa maa pii.