Indigenous elder was ‘loved by many’

Daughter says respected military veteran always 'expressed great generosity'

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Joseph Meconse, a respected Indigenous elder, Canadian Armed Forces veteran and Order of Manitoba recipient, died suddenly Sunday morning at the age of 77.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/02/2019 (1386 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Joseph Meconse, a respected Indigenous elder, Canadian Armed Forces veteran and Order of Manitoba recipient, died suddenly Sunday morning at the age of 77.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Renata Meconse, on Monday, sparking widespread outpourings of grief online, including statements from Mayor Brian Bowman, NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Premier Brian Pallister.

His daughter described the amount of support and condolences she’s received since her father’s death as overwhelming.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Renata Meconse, daughter of Joseph Meconse, with a portrait of her father, who died Sunday at the age of 77.

“I would describe my dad as someone who has always been a very giving person, of his time and of his resources. If somebody needed something and he had it, he would give them that,” Renata Meconse said.

“There’s not too many people you could honestly say about that they would give you the shirt off their back. My dad was one of them. He has always been someone who expressed great generosity.”

Meconse, who was born in Sayisi Dene First Nation, was a military veteran who served in a peacekeeping role in Cyprus and Germany, as well as during the October Crisis of 1970 in Quebec.

He spent decades working as a corrections officer at Stony Mountain Institution until his retirement in the early 2000s. He was also a prominent and highly respected figure in the Indigenous community in Manitoba.

“One thing that I know for sure was that he was loved by many people. I know, going forward, he’s going to be greatly missed,” Renata Meconse said.

“When it comes to the love the community is showing, it’s a reciprocal thing. My dad always showed love to people and they showed him love, too.”

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A portrait of Joseph Meconse in his younger days as a corrections officer.

In 2016, Meconse was kicked out of Portage Place mall, where he often met with friends, by security. The mall reportedly had a rule that said people could only sit in the food court for 30 minutes without food.

He eventually participated in a protest, round dance and drum ceremony at the food court, although he dissuaded people then calling for a boycott.

His actions helped usher in changes to security protocols at the mall, including the hiring of an Indigenous security company. A month after the initial incident, Portage Place held a ceremony in his honour to thank him for speaking up.

“It’s heartbreaking and, when it comes to my dad, I know it’s not just me, because you share someone like that with so many others,” Renata Meconse said.

“He has such an extended family that goes beyond us here. There are so many people who love him like an uncle, a father, a grandfather.”

Meconse is survived by his three sisters, two daughters, grandchildren and friends.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Meconse was honoured at a gathering in Portage Place mall after the elder was kicked out of the shopping centre in 2016. Portage Place general manager David Stone shakes hands with Meconse after giving him a formal apology.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

History

Updated on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:48 PM CST: Corrects spelling of Cyprus

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