Respected Sask. Indigenous elder Noel Starblanket passes away at age 72

Noel Starblanket was an advocate for Orange Shirt Day after spending 11 years at Lebret (Qu'Appelle) Indian Residential School as a child. File Photo / Global News

Saskatchewan’s Indigenous community has lost a respected elder.

According to multiple reports, Noel Starblanket, 72, of Star Blanket Cree Nation passed away at the Regina General Hospital on Monday morning after his battle with diabetes.

At the age of 24, he became chief of Star Blanket Cree Nation in 1971, making him one of Canada’s youngest reserve chiefs.

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Starblanket also served as a chairman for Treaty Four Chiefs, vice-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

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In 2018, Starblanket was named as the University of Regina’s Elder-in-Residence where he became a familiar face around campus.

He worked out of the university’s Office of Indigenization until the end of January, when he stepped down.

During his time in that role, Starblanket offered students and faculty spiritual advice and counselling.

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