Lawrence Desmoulin – 1959 Speaker
1959 Speaker of Biigtigong Nishnaabemwin
Lawrence was a strong advocate for our Nishnaabe language. He understood the importance of our language, and he ensured that his children continued to speak their language, despite the outside assaults on our way of life. He took firm action to counteract those outside attempts to remove language from our world. He instilled a sense of pride for our Nishnaabe language in his children and those around him. He was a proud Nishnaabe man.
Lawrence dedicated his life to his family and community. After losing the love of his life, he raised his children and provided a loving home for them. Lawrence had many wonderful skills and abilities. His barber skills were responsible for the stylish haircuts seen throughout the community. He was a trapper who spent a lot of his time out on the territory; his life was strongly influenced by his respect for the land. Lawrence kept a cow and a bull, had a team of horses, and raised chickens. He generously shared and helped out others, especially the less fortunate. As a talented craftsman, he also made snowshoes, sleds, and toboggans.
Lawrence was a celebrated storyteller. He freely shared the meanings and teachings embedded in our Nishnaabe way of life through the telling and retelling of our sacred stories. Lawrence respected our teachings and only told these stories in the wintertime. His children would fall asleep listening to his storytelling with the warmth of the fire and community members around them. Lawrence’s stories were alive and filled with animation. His large log home, which he built with the help of his neighbours, became a gathering place for storytelling. Lawrence continuously created opportunities to pass-on the traditional knowledge he carried.