First Nations president remembered as "educational warrior"
Jimmy Buffet music played in the background as hundreds of
people from across Saskatchewan packed into Saskatoon's Prairieland Park for the
funeral of Randell Morris, president of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of
Morris, 47, died Tuesday morning from a sudden medical emergency, leaving his family, friends, co-workers and students in shock.
Friday's funeral began with a powerful entrance lead by George Gordon First Nation dancers carrying a large SIIT eagle staff.
Morris was a member of the First Nation, but grew up in Swift Current where he went to school with Premier Brad Wall.
On a stage adorned with flowers, Wall
gave an emotional speech about Morris, describing how they re-connected later in
life. Wall said Morris often "over-delivered on his commitments" when the two
met to discuss policies.
He also spoke about Morris' passion for his students.
"He remembered everybody, that's how he was. He would come into the classroom and he would be smiling, he was always smiling and always happy and hoping that you were doing good in your classes," said business administration student Gloria Eagle.
"It was always nice to know that someone from higher up was able to come down and socialize with the students and with the staff," said business administration student Cynthia Bear.
Simon Bird, Vice Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, called Morris a "warrior" who broke ground for First Nations students.
Whitecap Dakota First Nations Chief Darcy Bear gave the eulogy. He said during SIIT convocation Morris, who would don a graduation cloak, reminded him a superhero who believed in the power of education.
Besides his accomplishments in his career, Morris was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan who could often be found wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Pictures of family vacations in Hawaii were projected on a giant screen at the front of the room.
Draped in a Saskatchewan Roughrider's star blanket, Morris' casket was carried out to the sound of drummers.
Wall, along with Cameco and PotashCorp, announced future scholarships in Morris' name.
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