Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The essence of spiritual authority


December 7, 2020

He was affectionately known simply as “Eddie” to almost everybody. For his family and those close to him, it was “DeDey,” the family father. A few people even called him Burt Reynolds.

But the traditional names he carried brought with them the essence of spiritual authority arising from over a century earlier. His given English name was Edward Joseph Benton, born in a woodland wigwam on the shores of Round Lake on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin, on March 4, 1931, according to the family obituary. Benton often said he did not have a birth certificate and that his actual age could easily be in dispute.

At 89 then, Benton passed away peacefully at a local care-giving facility on Nov. 30, with a legacy of involvement in the Indigenous world and a pillar of the revival and rebirth of the traditional Indian identity. In the last couple of years, Benton had faced several health issues courageously, but continued his work.


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