Leonard Henry GEORGE
1946 - 2017
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GEORGE, Leonard Henry
August 18, 1946 – December 6, 2017
It is with great sadness to announce the passing of such a strong, loving person. Predeceased by Parents; Dan and Amy George (nee Jack), children Qut-same and Isaac George and siblings Bob George, Rose and Annie Thomas. Leonard is survived by his loving wife of 47 years Susan George (nee Edge) and three beautiful children Justin (Heidi), Gabriel (Angela) and Zachary (Janice) George and many grandchildren; also survived by sisters Irene Aleck and Amy- Marie George along with many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends. Leonard will also be missed by his extended spiritual family, brothers and sisters, which he was reborn into. Leonard was a true leader in all aspects of life: He worked with his late brother Bobby to revive the Nation's songs and dances in the late 1970's, which his son carries on currently. Leonard was elected on Council for one term before being elected Chief for 6 terms (12 years) from 1989 to 2001. He worked as the Director of Economic Development for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to generate revenue used to date to offset programs and services to help our Nation, and was also the Nation's Chief Negotiator in the Treaty Process. Leonard's passion was like his father's – humanitarian work, Nation building and acting. His wife Susan once said that acting was his true calling – he loved the challenge, enjoyed bringing the character to life. He was a born story teller and could make any role his own. Most known working with his father in Little Big Man and Shadow of the Hawk, but he really added his "Hola" personality to the roles he played in Smoke Signals and Man of the House. His personality was so warm and open that he made deep connections with all people who could learn from his knowledge and wisdom. Family prayers December 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. at his home. Funeral service December 9, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Culture Centre 3010 Sleil-waututh Road, North Vancouver, BC


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Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Dec. 8, 2017.
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Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
May 5, 2018
I heard of Leonard George's passing after the fact and was very sad. A great and generous soul no longer on the earthly plane, but his spirit lives on.

I met Leonard on a handful of occasions. We didn't really engage in conversation. It was always me wanting something from him and him giving his time, energy and voice, freely.

When I was a student at Douglas College in the early 80s, Leonard came and spoke and sang in an Ethnic Minorities class. He made a great impression on me.

In the mid-80s, when I was a music student at SFU, I contacted Leonard and asked him if I could record him singing and his powerful oration about being humble like the water for a music project. He said, Yes.

When I was a student teacher in Vancouver, I asked if he would come and teach the students a song and dance. He said, Yes.

When I became a teacher, I asked if he would come and present for our school. He said, Yes, even though, at that point, he was recovering from throat cancer. He could not sing but he told stories.

When I ran into him 10 or 12 years ago in North Van, I introduced myself and mentioned the things he had done for me. I thought he probably wouldn't remember me; our meetings had taken place over many years. I reminded him that I had recorded him singing and asked if I could teach my students the song. He said, Yes.

We exchanged few words on meeting. The two words he spoke to me each time were Yes and also No. No to any money that I offered him in exchange for his services. To me, he truly was a complete lover, a complete servant of mankind and humble like the water.

Since so much time had passed, I wanted to ask permission again to teach The Chief Dan George Prayer Song I had recorded him singing. I procrastinated and then it was too late. I have a feeling, had I contacted him and asked permission, he would have said, Yes.

Here are Leonard's words recorded in 1986 or 1987.

The native people were governed by a spirituality in that the leader of all tribes and nations of people in North America were holy men and holy women, people who regarded themselves as an instrument of the Creator's works.

In order to become an instrument of the Creator's works, one had to be a complete lover, a complete servant of mankind, and
one did that by learning how to become humble, like the water.

The water always seeks the most lowliest places on earth when it comes down as rain, it hits and it lands and it begins its journey.

The water runs beneath us, it runs beneath this building. And yet, it's relentless in its effort, it's always ongoing, it's never stopping, and, if so desires, has the power to move a mountain.
December 12, 2017
A great man will surely be missed by thousands a light to the world has gone rest in peace Leonard
Lee Edge
December 11, 2017
Our sincerest condolences to the family, extended family, and all the Tsleil-waututh Nation for the loss of Chief Leonard George. We were very priviledged and honoured to meet him in September despite his illness to speak with him about our upcoming opera production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, and shared many of his wonderful early memories, participation and insights about the play with him. May the legacy of this kind and gracious soul continue to thrive.
Victor & Lori Davies
December 10, 2017
Sincere condolences to Leonard's Family and all of His Nation!
I was fortunate to have Leonard as a friend and classmate at Notre Dame high school. Even then Leonard had a presence and I knew He was special. Certainly ( a life well lived ) describes Leonard. Rest In Peace my Brother,
Doug Payette
December 10, 2017
My condolences to The George family.
I sold flowers at a outdoor flower stand and I met Leonard there he was such a well spoken and such a nice man. It was always nice chatting with him.
December 9, 2017
My condolence to the family fron Jane Charlie from Kwawkwawapilt Kawa Aplilt
Jane Charlie
December 9, 2017
My sincere condolence to the George family with the passing of Chief Leonard George.
I had the privilege & honour to have been the George family and other members of the Tsleil Waututh Band. The George family legacy will be carried on by the generations present and coming.
Sincerely Dr George Sakata
December 9, 2017
Our sincerest condolences to the family, extended family, and all the Tsleil-waututh Nation for the loss of Chief Leonard George. We never had the privilege of meeting him in person, but we, like so many others, have benefited from all the work he did for all of us and our planet.
JD Cottier & T. Gama-Pinto
Raven Woods, on Tsleil-waututh Land,
British Columbia
JD & T. Cottier/Gama-Pinto
December 9, 2017
Condolences to the family, community and nation. Rest in sweet peace Leonard.
Geraldine Robinson
December 8, 2017
Keith LaRiviere
Friend
December 8, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers to family of Leonard George.

Kevin Harkey and Tracy Healy
Kevin and Tracy Harkey
December 8, 2017
Mother Earth truly lost a real land and cultural protector. I was lucky to work under Leonard when he was the ED at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in the early 80's. Leonard inspired me, treated me like I was special each time we ran into one another. A kind man with a kind heart. He was a great teacher, and will be missed by so many of our Indigenous and non-Indigenous brothers and sisters. The spirit world just got a gem.
Richard Willier
December 8, 2017
Sincerest condolences. Leonard's legacy will live on as he has touched and inspired so many, near and far. So many current and former staff of INAC are remembering him fondly and feel your loss.

Catherine Lappe, RDG, BC Region, INAC
Catherine Lappe
December 8, 2017
LEONARD'S SONG
(A Tribute to Chief
Leonard George)

Beloved Chief of the Tsleil-waututh
Was born of forest, sky and sea.
Inside the longhouse of the wolf,
He's left this song for you and me.

My life has passed and time has fled,
And yet the moon and stars remain.
Dog salmon spawn amongst the dead,
Red backsides ripe beneath hard rain.

Crab shallows beckon dark and green,
By mingling waters, bending reeds,
A log canoe slips past unseen,
Lone paddle dripping silver beads.

And far ahead blue herons wing
To roost atop tall maple trees.
There my spirit yearns to sing,
While feathers dance upon the breeze.

I've heard the wind roar up the sound.
Seen white tail leap a dappled glade.
I've dug where butter clams abound,
Felt cedar curl against a blade.

And spring has birthed upon my cheek.
I've watched the autumn foliage fall.
I've prayed beside a sacred creek,
Then danced inside the village hall.

My ancestors are calling me.
I won't be of this world again.
Born of the forest, sky and sea,
I'm but a feather on the wind.

BY: Steve Carter
Dec 08/17
Stephen Carter
December 8, 2017
LEONARD'S SONG
(A Tribute to Chief Leonard George)

Beloved Chief of the Tsleil-waututh
Was born of forest, sky and sea.
Inside the longhouse of the wolf,
He's left this song for you and me.

My life has passed and time has fled,
And yet the moon and stars remain.
Dog salmon spawn amongst their dead,
Red backsides ripe beneath hard rain.

Crab shallows beckon dark and green.
By mingling waters, bending reeds,
A log canoe slips by unseen,
Lone paddle dripping silver beads.

And far ahead blue herons wing
To roost atop tall maple trees.
There my spirit yearns to sing,
While feathers dance upon the breeze.

I've heard the wind roar up the sound.
Seen white tail leap a dappled glade.
I've dug where butter clams abound,
Felt cedar curl against a blade.

And spring has birthed upon my cheek.
I've watched the autumn foliage fall.
I've prayed beside a sacred creek,
Then danced inside the village hall.

My ancestors are calling me.
I won't be of this world again.
Born of the forest, sky and sea,
I'm but a feather on the wind.
Stephen Carter
December 8, 2017
After my brother died of suicide in 2004, Leonard and his family help us move through our grief by hosting a ceremony at their home. I will always remember Leonard's humour and compassion, and I am forever grateful for the gift that he gave to me and my family.

Susan and family - I am so very sorry for your loss. I know that nothing I could say can damped your grief at this time, but I hope that you take solace knowing that you were truly gifted by having someone so amazing in your life.
Michelle
December 8, 2017
What an inspirational man! I'm glad I had the chance, a few times through the decades, to tell Len this, face-to-face. Gone much too soon -- We shall remember him, and the feelings and lessons he shared.
Much love to Len's entire family, from this girl from Nanaimo & Oxford Street, and Templeton School, who often cycled over the bridge to your Dollarton Street home where I listened and found peace. May these words help you all, even if only just a little bit, to feel some peace as well. Xo
Ruth Lowther
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