Star Blanket loses former chief to pulmonary fibrosis
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 24, 2019
A respected member of the Star Blanket First Nation community has passed away after a battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Clifford Starr passed away on July 12, at the age of 75 years in Regina surrounded by his wife, siblings, and children.
Although he is saddened by his father’s passing, son Wavell Starr is happy his father does not have to suffer any longer.
“Since my Dad's health took a turn for the worse, I began watching lectures and reading books to prepare myself. One line I came across resonated with me and has been on my mind since I heard it: ‘endeavour to be the most dependable person at your Father's funeral. I knew there was work to be done,’” he said.
Wavell describes his dad as a loving, caring man whom worked hard to overcome life’s obstacles and who worked hard to provide for his family.
Their favorite things to do together was spend time at the hockey rink, whether Wavell’s son just had practice or was part of a tournament.
“We also have had many good memories on the powwow trail. My dad loved hearing powwow singing.” said Wavell.
Although Wavell has many fond memories of his father, one particular memory from a day he was wrestling stands out to him.
“One that sticks out in my mind is one time at a wrestling event my opponent who was playing the villain sold a punch out to the floor and staggered toward my Dad. My opponent had me hold his arms behind his back so my dad could hit him in the chest with some open hand chops. He was scared to lay it in and it was super hard to keep a straight face! I had no idea my opponent was going to do this.” he said.
Wavell will also miss the way Clifford would interact with his grandsons.
“I will miss witnessing the banter between my Dad and my son. They are both very competitive and both like to talk trash so once they get started its on.” he said.
Wavell believes his dad’s memory will live on through his sons in the way they share the share similar personalities and mannerisms.
He also plans to continue his dad’s work.
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron first met Clifford at an event in 2011 in Star Blanket First Nation and they started working together the same year.
Cameron describes Clifford as a good person who treated everyone with respect.
“In much the same way he carried himself when he was chief, he treated everybody equally and with respect. He was a good communicator in that way he always had that ability to listen and give people time as that was the way he was taught as a young man.” said Cameron.
He also said Clifford was a good teacher and role model to those who knew him.
“We will miss him.”
A wake was held at White Calf Gym, Lebret, on July 15. A traditional funeral was then held in White Calf Gym, in Lebret, on July 16.