Chemainus First Nation chief dies unexpectedly
First Nations on Vancouver Island are mourning the loss of Chief Peter Seymour, 58, who died yesterday morning.
Seymour, renowned for his knowledge of big house traditions and for canoe and mask carving, was one year into his term as elected chief of Chemainus First Nation.
However, he previously served eight years as chief and, during that time, was instrumental in teaching young people about their history, said his brother Greg Seymour. “He achieved a lot,” he said. The death was unexpected, even though he had been in hospital briefly the previous week, fighting complications from diabetes and pneumonia, his brother said.
“People are pretty shocked. There were more than 60 people at the hospital when they heard he was not doing well.”
Daughter-in-law Marla Sampson said Seymour followed a traditional way of life and instilled a love of that lifestyle in his children. “He was well-known in communities throughout B.C. He will be very dearly missed,” she said.
Joey Caro, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group communications manager, was a friend who worked alongside Seymour as he represented his band at the treaty table. “He was well respected and really knowledgeable on the cultural side of things. He knew a lot about the (big house) rituals and the history of masks,” Caro said.
Seymour had been active in giving historical information for treaty work, and, luckily, much of that history has now been recorded, Caro said.
Seymour leaves Gertrude, his wife of 38 years and adult children Peter, married to Sampson, Stacy, married to Chad Harris and Gordon, who is married to Lt.-Gov. Steven Point’s daughter Christine.
The funeral will be held Saturday at Kulleet Bay Cemetery.