First Nations people mourn Sophie Thomas

Boundary Sentinel
By Boundary Sentinel
March 21st, 2010

The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council was deeply saddened by the sudden loss of respected Dakelh Elder and Traditional Healer, Dr. Sophie Thomas. She passed away on Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010 in the comfort of her home, surrounded by family.

Thomas was said to be in her late 80’s or early 90’s. She had 15 children with her husband Morris who predeceased her, and they traditionally adopted 15 other children.

Sophie Thomas was an incredible teacher and recognized for her great works and contributions in traditional practices and knowledge. She was an inspirational leader who advocated for the environment, and the protection of the land. Dr. thomas was also a founding member of Carrier Sekani Tribal council, Carrier Sekani Family Services, and the Yinka Dene Language Institute, along with many other accomplishments, and particularly the formation of the Sophie Thomas Foundation. 

Thomas was well-known across B.C. as a healer and educator in traditional medicines. She toured around B.C. teaching these traditions at schools, colleges, and universities. In 2003, Sophie participated in the Festival of Freedom at the Forks in Grand Forks as a part of the First Nations welcoming ceremonies at the opening of the event, and during the cultural presentations over the weekend.

Her notable works included a film, produced by Terry Jacks, titled The Warmth of Love – the Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas and her book, Plants and Medicines of Sophie Thomas. Thomas was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal for her work as an advocate and educator of local aboriginal culture. 

Thomas was to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Northern B.C. in May to recognize her work as a prominent knowledge keeper and medicine woman.

“We are extremely saddened we have lost such a wonderful woman who advocated for conservation and respect for mother earth,” said Vice-Tribal Chief Terry Teegee. “We are fortunate to have known and learned from her.”

A public wake and memorial service is being planned at this time.

Categories: General