News Release - Passing of Chief Andy Thomas
District of Oak Bay
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 09, 2018
Passing of Chief Andy Thomas
Council was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chief Andy Thomas, a friend, a respected Elder and the hereditary leader of the Esquimalt Nation for 47 years. Chief Andy was 71 and he passed away unexpectedly at home in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Chief Thomas had an extraordinary connection with the Heritage of the Lekwungen people. He was able to provide wisdom from the past and he gave voice to a strong vision of the future for Indigenous people. He was active in promoting Coast Salish heritage and history, especially in keeping alive ancient aboriginal teachings and rites passed down through the millennia.
Chief Thomas supported our community helping forge an important new relationship which is critical to the future of all of us who live in Oak Bay. In 2015 Council worked with the Community Association of Oak Bay and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to install a “Welcome Pole” at the newly-completed Oak Bay High School – a proud and important symbol of new beginnings and a journey of reconciliation with our students and community, and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations whose traditional territory includes Oak Bay.
Chief Thomas will be remembered for his leadership, his deep connection to his people and their cultural traditions. He was a humble, devoted promoter of Indigenous rights, and the health and education of his people. He was a catalyst for a new way of engaging, and he was our friend.
Chief Thomas’ death is a profound loss for all us but especially for the Esquimalt Nation. Our community shares with his family and the Esquimalt Nation an immense sense of loss. Our prayers, condolences and deepest respect are with Chief Thomas’s wife, Mary Anne Thomas, their children and grandchildren.
For media enquiries, please call:
Nils Jensen, Mayor
District of Oak Bay
cell: 250 882-0549