Saskatchewan Indigenous leader Tony Cote passes away

Tony Cote passed away on July 31 2019, at the age of 84. Sarah Komadina/ Global News

A respected Saskatchewan Indigenous leader has passed away.

Tony Cote passed away on July 31 at the age of 84.

Cote is best known for starting the Saskatchewan First Nations summer and winter games in 1974, which are now named the Tony Cote First Nations Summer/Winter Games in his honour.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan First Nations Summer/Winter Games renamed after founder Tony Cote

Cote was chief of the Cote First Nation from 1970 to 1978 and oversaw the building of a hockey rink with an artificial ice surface on the reserve north of Kamsack, the first such facility at the time on any Saskatchewan First Nation.

He was also a Korean War veteran, serving as a gunner for the Royal Canadian Artillery in the 1950s.

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Cote received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2008 and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) said Cote will be missed.

“Our First Nations communities are truly mourning the loss of a great leader and respected elder,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a statement on Wednesday.

“He touched so many lives and paved the way for countless First Nations youth through the organization of the Saskatchewan First Nations Winter and Summer Games, which were recently renamed in honour of his contributions.

“We lost a great man today and we send our deepest sympathies and prayers to the Cote family and community.”

A wake service will be held on Aug. 4, with a funeral the following day at the Cote Band Hall on the Cote First Nation.

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