A special day of celebration for Bail Johnston was held on June 4, 2016 at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, beginning with a Memorial Mass of Thanksgiving in the Big Chapel. Family present was introduced, followed by a short biography of Basil and “Who was He?” Basil was Anishnaabe author, fluent linguist, scholar and teacher from Cape Croker, who attended Residential School in Spanish. Basil wrote about the Ojibwe language, tradition and culture, and was the author of 25 books in English and five in the Anishnaabemowin language. He translated the scriptural readings and regularly proclaimed them at St. Mary Catholic Church in Cape Croker. Basil died at Cape Croker on September 8, 2015.
Berdina Johnston, in Ojibwe, spoke about this “language Specialist”. Excerpts about his experience in giving the valedictory address from Indian School Days and “Offering Tobacco” and how the Anishnabeg never forgot to offer tobacco from Ojibway Ceremonies were read. The people then headed for Cabin #6 for the blessing, smudging, naming ceremony, and uncovering of the sign made by Leonard Cywink. After the ceremony, everyone went back to the dining room to enjoy a pot luck dinner.
NAMING AND BLESSING OF COTTAGE
Creator God, Kitchi-Manitou, Debenjiged,
we thank you for bringing us together.
We gather to name and dedicate this cottage in tribute to Basil Johnston,
our relative, friend, teacher and elder.
May this cottage, which we name in his honour,
always be used for your glory and praise,
and for the good of all the people who come here.
Father, we offer this prayer through Christ our Lord.
Meegwetch, Meegwetch, Meegwetch, Meegwetch.