May 31, 1952 – August 2, 2012
Peter Lazarus Wesley passed away peacefully at Canmore General Hospital on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at the age of 60 years. Born in Morley, Alberta on May 31, 1952, Peter was a lifetime resident on the Stoney Nakoda Nation. In the Nakoda language, Peter’s name was “Eagle Messenger”.
Peter attended Morley Residential School, Exshaw School, and Ernest Manning High School in Calgary. In 1978 Peter became the youngest elected local government official in the history of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, and served three two-year terms as Bearspaw Band Councillor. He earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Calgary in 1997 and had partially completed a Master of Arts (History) degree. At the time of his passing, Peter was Director of the Rocky Mountain Nakoda Centre for Language and Cultural Preservation.
Peter was fluent in his spoken Nakoda language and in English, and was widely recognized as an exceptional Interpreter, Translator, Spokesperson, and Chairman. He was a noted historian of the Stoney Nakoda, whose traditional homelands include the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains from the Brazeau River in the north to Chief Mountain in the south. Peter was also respected as a cultural communicator of his Aboriginal heritage. A gifted storyteller, his expertise as “Keeper of the Language and Legends” was well-established. Peter’s legacy lives on through his immeasurable contribution to the official website for accurate preservation of the authentic Nakoda language at www.RockyMountainNakoda.com.
Throughout his life, Peter embraced and honoured cultural values and traditions, blending them with his Christian beliefs. At various times he was a singer and dancer in pow-wows. He was knowledgeable in horsemanship and hunting. Peter’s participation in sports included rodeo, golf, and hockey. He was also a self-taught musician. In recent years, Peter became very proficient in the ancient art of leather and rawhide braiding. He took great pride in adapting a variety of intricate braids and knots to custom-craft decorative and functional rodeo tack and equipment.
Peter travelled extensively throughout North America, and also visited England and Australia. His favourite vacation spot was Waikiki in Hawaii and he enjoyed seven holidays there, the last in March 2012.
Peter will long be known for his dry wit and serious expression while telling a story or joke, only to have a smile slowly cross his face or break into laughter afterward!
He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 26 years, Donna Hogeland; children Juanita Wesley (Christophe Rollinmud), Mandy Wesley, Wade Wesley (Melvina Goodstoney), and Vonnie Wesley; their mother Mona Holloway; grandchildren Cheyenne Wesley, Shadow Crawler, Maceo Crawler, Dretin Goodstoney, Rihanna Goodstoney, Braven Goodstoney, Twisha Wildman, and Akeesha Kaquitts; great-grandchildren Anthony Wesley, Angelo Wesley, and Andreas Wesley.
Peter is also survived by his sisters Una Wesley, Virginia Wesley, Pauline Wesley (George Piche), Reatha Mark, and Victoria Lefthand; brothers Lenny Wesley (Corrina Wesley), Laurel Wesley (Tracey House), Claude Lefthand (Belinda Simeon), and Russell Twoyoungmen (Wendy Ear); mother-in-law Irene Hogeland of Brandon, Manitoba; sisters-in-law Brenda Froese (George Froese) of Rivers, Manitoba and Carole Hogeland (Mike Bourgoin) of Frankford, Ontario; as well as by numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family members, and friends both near and far.
Peter was predeceased by his parents Lazarus and Lily Wesley, father-in-law Mel Hogeland, sister Evangeline Rider, and brothers-in-law Roderick Mark and Don Rider.
Wake services will be held at the residence of Una Wesley on the Stoney Nakoda Nation on Wednesday, August 8 and Thursday, August 9. The Celebration of Life service for Peter will be held at the Gymnasium in Morley, Alberta on Friday, August 10 at 1:30 p.m.
Donations to the “Peter Lazarus Wesley Memorial Scholarship” may be made by phoning 403-220-5854, or by mailing a cheque payable to the University of Calgary (refer to “Peter Lazarus Wesley Memorial Scholarship”) to: University of Calgary Development Office, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4.
Messages of condolence may be placed at: www.mcinnisandholloway.com.
In living memory of Peter Lazarus Wesley, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, 369 Railway Street, Cochrane, Alberta. Telephone: (403) 932-4740.Print This Obituary & Condolences