About Elmer Courchene

Elmer Courchene is not a subject of the Crown. He asserts his Nishnaabe sovereignty. His expression of self and how he experiences the world rests on his inherent belief in his sovereignty. In response to the systematic efforts and acts of genocide, Elmer takes action to constantly affirm his identity, rights, and responsibilities as a Nishnaabe.

Elmer’s first language is Nishnaabemwin; despite efforts to remove his language while in residential school, Elmer continues to view the world through the lens of Nishnaabemwin. He advocates for language, citing it as the foundation of our Nishnaabe being. Elmer encourages our people to become speakers and understanders of our language. He sees this as one of the most powerful acts against the historical and current attacks on our existence.

Elmer promotes the coming together of our people. Understanding that our fragmented family and social structures are a direct result of the colonial efforts to terminate our people, Elmer believes we must return to our roots. In our relationships, we will find the strength, courage, and solutions to move forward in our efforts to build our Nations. Our efforts need to include strategies that directly counteract the damage that has been inflicted on our people. Freedom will occur through embracing our language, customs, values, and beliefs, allowing us to live and experience our life as it was intended.

Elmer is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation and considers Biigtigong his home. As a father, grandfather, uncle, leader, and spiritual advisor, he has influenced the direction of Biigtigong. Elmer was very much involved in the affairs of the community when he resided here. He has continued his relationship with the community and always returns to share his knowledge. Elmer played and continues to play an influential role in our return to our Nishnaabe spiritual path and our resurgence as a people.