Whimsical 04

John Rufus Flatfoot (Desjarlais)

July 15, 1946 ~ October 7, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old

John Flatfoot (Desjarlais) Obituary

John Rufus Flatfoot (Desjarlais)

Kawejeh-Pehmoosemaht-Ehchi-Inniwah/He Who Walks With (Big Men) Bigfoot

Born in Ste. Rose Du Lac, MB, July 15, 1946 and died Oct 7, 2023 in Portage La Prairie, MB

With heavy hearts we would like to announce the passing of our Niibahbahnahn (our dad) John Rufus Flatfoot (Desjarlais) from Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. Dad died peacefully at the Portage General Hospital early Saturday morning, October 7, 2023.

John was predeceased by his parents, Frances Desjarlais and Eliza Flatfoot, his brothers Frank Flatfoot (Alice), Glenn Flatfoot (Margaret), Andrew Flatfoot (Hazel Whitford), Edward and his sisters Lillian West (B Boy), Irene Richard, Mary Dianne Flatfoot of Sandy Bay First Nation, and brother in law Michael Perry. Rose McGilvery and Rodney McGilvery of Saddle Lake Cree Nation. His great granddaughter Gemma Hall from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.

John leaves to mourn his only surviving sister Angela Perry of Portage La Prairie, his ex-wife Doris Flatfoot of Ebb and Flow First Nation. His daughters Arlene Flatfoot, Ebb and Flow, Linda Fariss (Abdo), Winnipeg, Berdine McGilvery originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alberta who now resides in Flagstaff, Arizona. His step children Tracy Merke (Kelvin), Dennis Flatfoot, Adrienne Flatfoot (Cheeky).  His former son in law Frankie Beaulieu of Sandy Bay First Nation. His grandchildren: Chrissy (Patrick), Gator (Natalie), Dusty (Andrea), Brendin, Michelle, Samantha, Jonathan (Sharilyn), Brianna, Kristen, Kelvin, Keane, Drake, Shelby and Denim, Alicia, Aaliyah and Angelina. His great-grandchildren: Patrick Jr, Naima, Carson, Tila, Ryley, Athena, Brooke, Jessica, Landen, Leighton, Kayleigh, Ansleigh, Ethan, Kenzie, Mila and Bennett.

John leaves to mourn many nieces and nephews too many to name which he loved so dearly. He also leaves to mourn many friends and relatives that he was blessed to have met along his adventurous travels throughout turtle island. Many knew him as Uncle J, Grandpa Johnny and Neech.

Our dad had a lengthy illness which he fought in silence. He was a true Indian Residential School Survivor, a walking Anishinabe dictionary of extreme high dialect words, a true knowledge keeper and a man with many, many authentic stories.  He had so many adventures and stories that he had shared with many far and wide.  He was known as “A Walking Legend.”  He always said that there are no boundaries in this country because this is Native Land. A warrior in his own way.  Never judge because no one is perfect.  He was loved by family and many people especially to the people of Saddle Lake Cree Nation. The family is thankful that he was welcomed in their home and shared meals and laughter together. Ekosani/Kitchi Miigwetch for accepting him for who he was.

Our dad shared his traditional knowledge and history of his people for those who were willing to listen. He was raised on the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation with his siblings. He went to the Sandy Bay Indian Residential School and later went to the Assiniboine Residential School in Winnipeg. He was enrolled in the Army Cadets and later met his wife Doris. John went to school at Red River College and got his plumbing certificate. He was a jack of all trades, a fire fighter, he loved hunting, he played hockey and worked at Blue Quills in Alberta. He later met Berdine’s mom, Margaret Rose McGilvery and adopted her son Rodney Dale McGilvery and took him as his own.

He enjoyed hunting and digging Seneca roots in the summer. He was referred to as “A Walking Legend” as there was simply no other person like him.  He was well liked and well received by the people he met and those who knew him.  For everyone that was able to pick him up and take him to his next destination, the family would like to acknowledge you and say Kitchi Miigwetch/Ekosani (ihiy) for keeping him safe, for giving him a meal, providing shelter and last but not least for not judging him for this was his way of life.  He was loved by so many far and wide.

We belong to Manitou and to Manitou we shall return!

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October 10, 2023

7:00 PM
Sandy Bay Community Complex (Sandy Bay Community Complex)

Funeral Service
October 12, 2023

2:00 PM
Sandy Bay Community Complex (Sandy Bay Community Complex)


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