Chief Jimmy Bruneau

Jimmy Bruneau was born on December 12, 1881, and raised on the land. After Chief Monfwi’s death in 1936, Jimmy Bruneau became the Chief. He understood that times were changing and that people needed the knowledge and skills that they could learn in school. He wanted children to be educated, but not at the cost of losing their language and culture. Through his vision, members of the community formed the Rae-Edzo School Society and negotiated an historic agreement with the Commissioner of the NWT, returning control of the local school to the people of the community.

“I have asked for a school to be built... on my land... and that school will be run by my people, and my people will work at that school and our children will learn both ways, our way and the white man’s way.”

When he was over 80 years of age, Chief Jimmy Bruneau led the people of Rae in a protest against the government by refusing to accept the Treaty money. He denied that the Treaty money had bought the land or the rights of the first people who lived on it. It was through strong actions by the Chief that the federal government continued to recognize the claims of our people to the land.

Chief Jimmy Bruneau died on January 16, 1975, at the age of 89. Hundreds of people attended his funeral to pay respect to this Chief, who was so important to the lives of so many people. He was a man of vision and great strength, who set the finest example of leadership for our people. In the words of one elder, “He looked far ahead for us and we gain by it.”  Biography Chief Jimmy Bruneau

Read articles below from 1975 on Chief Jimmy Bruneau 

  • Article "Chief Jimmy Bruneau" - January 20, 1975
    Here is a small excerpt from the article: One of the greatest leader of the Indian people has passed away. Former Chief Jimmy Bruneau died at the hospital in Rae at 3:20 a.m. He was also most 90 year old.  Chief Bruneau lead the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) people of Rae for almost 50 years, until 1969. His wisdom will be missed by the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) people who loved and respected "the old Chief". 
  • Article "In Memory of Jimmy Bruno" 
    Here is a small excerpt from the article:  He fought for many years for a regional school that would be run by a Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) board of directors and eventual be totally run by native people.