‘He was one of the greatest fathers anyone could have'
INDIAN BROOK - The Mi'kmaq community is mourning the passing of a well-respected leader.
Reg Maloney, former chief of Indian Brook First Nation, passed away in Truro hospital Tuesday. He spent a long career as an advocate for rights of the Mi’kmaq people.
Former Indian Brook Chief Reginald (Reg) Maloney died on Tuesday after a battle with cancer at Colchester East Hants Heath Centre with his family and friends by his side. He was 72.
Maloney served on the Shubenacadie Band Council as chief or councilor since 1966.
He had a large family and leaves behind his wife Tanya, as well as 15 children and a large extended family.
"He was one of the greatest fathers anyone could have," said daughter Cheryl Maloney.
"He taught us how to hunt, we fished, we learned how to skin eels, we raised muskrats. He taught us so much of our roots. He opened our eyes," she said.
Cheryl said she was so proud of her father and wanted the world to know how much he did during his career.
"He taught us so much about our treaties and constitutions and I went to meetings with him and it was not until I went to law school and university that I fully understood all that dad did for our people," she said.
"Treaties are as valid now as the day they were signed," she said she can still hear him saying. "Dad would not let us forget and he fought for our rights," she said.
"He was respectful, honest and dignified. He loved God and he lived a pure and beautiful life."
During his time in palliative care at the hospital the whole community came out to spread their love, including the children. Drummers attended and there were songs and chants in old Mi'kmaq language and they shared their traditional meals and breads (called Luski) with the staff.
"It was a community celebration," Cheryl added.
Maloney served as chief of the Shubenacadie Band from 1974 to 1978, 1980 to 1982 and 1990 to 2004. He also served as band councillor from 1966 to 1968, 1970 to 1974 and 2007 to 2012.
Known as a strong advocate for treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq First Nation, he lived his political life standing up for more than just First Nations in his community. He extended himself across the Maritimes, Quebec and New England. He was also a Grand Keptin on Grande Council and served as district chief for his entire career.
Current Indian Brook Chief Rufus Copage remembers how passionate Maloney was in his political career. He encouraged him to get his start in politics in 1990 when he was running for chief again.
"No sense of me running for chief if I don't have back up," Copage recalls Maloney telling him.
Copage said he would not be where he is today if it wasn't for Maloney.
A service will be held for Maloney in Shubenacadie on Saturday.