Photos of Stuart Amyotte that were on display at his funeral and wake. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski
Prince Albert has paid its respects to an elder who was known to offer a hand to people needed it most.
On the weekend, tissue boxes were spread out on tables at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre as people gathered to celebrate the life of Stuart Amyotte.
It was Amyotte’s request to hold his traditional wake and funeral held at the centre.
For Disa Amyotte, the most important thing about remembering her father is not the end of his life. Instead, she focuses on the impact he had throughout his life on those around him.
“Although it is very sad that he has passed on, I believe he’s left a lot of memories with people and I believe he’s touched a lot of lives,” Disa said in an interview before the wake.
Stuart held the title of Elder at the Friendship Centre but Disa said he was humble about it.
“My father never really liked being called an Elder or acknowledged as an Elder or anything like that because he was just Stuart. And this is how I see him, he’s just Stuart, my father,” she said.
Stuart was born in Manitoba but over over the course of 35 years he made Prince Albert his home.
He worked for years with different places like PA Outreach, the Food Bank, and the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division with WonSka Cultural School.
Those positions all held one thing in common.
“My father has always believed in helping other people when they’re down and out, making people feel better about themselves, he just always believed in helping others who are less fortunate,” Disa said.
His coworkers say he has changed the lives of those struggling with addictions and homelessness in the city.
For Disa, a lot of the memories of her father revolve around how involved he was with First Nations culture. Whether it was a powwow, National Aboriginal Day, or other cultural event, Stuart was there.
Disa said the cultural guidance he’s provided has left a permanent mark on the city.
Stuart was also an early supporter of two-spirit members in the aboriginal community, and made equal respect for all people a focus throughout his life.