General · 24th July 2015
Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre
Chief Donald Assu
December 3, 1931 – July 19, 2015
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Chief Donald Assu, son of Chief Harry and Ida (Dick) Assu. Don is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Louisa (Sewid), sister Jean, and sons Brian (Amber), Patrick, Michael (Lola), and Bradley (Margo), along with ten grandchildren, six great grandchildren and dozens of nieces and nephews. He was a proud father and grandfather, a loving husband and a trusted friend.
Born December 3, 1931, Don spent his life working for, and in, commercial fishing. In addition to serving on many industry Boards, he was made an honorary member of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters in 1977. He owned and operated several fishing boats, including the Mary Isle moored in Quathiaski Cove.
In 1942, Don became active in the Native Brotherhood, serving as a long-term Board member. In 1958, the same year he married Louisa, he became the first Band Manager for Cape Mudge: a position he held until 1996. Among the many clubs and organizations he belonged was the Campbell River Shriners, which he joined in 1983.
Don sat as a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for School District 72, and was instrumental in initiating the language and cultural programs that continue today. He was a Board member of the Laich-Kwil-Tach Treaty Society, Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge, Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society, and a member of the Cape Mudge Elders’ Council.
Don was a founding Board member of Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, seeing the organization grow from concept to fruition. In his role as President, he oversaw cultural programming aimed at developing greater capacity within the community and opportunities for dialogue and understanding among the larger population.
The legacy of service to community that began with his grandfather Chief Billy Assu and continued with his father Chief Harry Assu, was reflected in Don’s unwavering dedication and commitment to the organizations with which he was affiliated. He has passed this trait onto his children so that they in turn can instill in their children, the strong work ethic and integrity for which he was known. In recognition of his community work, he was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Don devoted his life to maintaining the culture and heritage of his people. In doing so, he has shared this knowledge with both his family and his community, helping foster pride and understanding of the traditions that have defined our peoples since time immemorial. His words and wisdom will continue to influence generations to come.
Funeral service will be held at 1:00pm, Saturday, July 25, 2015, Cape Mudge Recreation Hall