by Armand LaPlante
Edward Baldhead, 1928-2016.
Edward Baldhead was born on the One Arrow First Nation on March 19, 1928, to the parents of Joe and Mary Francis Baldhead. During his youth, Edward was placed in St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, and he stayed there right until his 18th birthday. After he left the residence, Edward worked various jobs including hoeing beets in Alberta and working as a labourer for various farmers in Saskatchewan. Edward went on to enlist in the Canadian Army and serve overseas during World War II. Edward’s service brought him to many countries in Europe including France, Holland, and Germany; he was later honoured with many awards and medals for his service.
Many years after returning to Saskatchewan from the war, Edward went on to serve his community in the capacity of Elder. He would be invited to pray at many events for many organizations, he would share his knowledge with the community, and he would often bear the eagle staff at Pow Wow grand entries. Edward was also involved with the Summer and Winter First Nation Games as well as the North American Indigenous Games—he shared knowledge of his culture to many young people whether they were Indigenous or non-Indigenous.
Aside from Edward’s legacy as a veteran; he was also a residential school survivor. He was a noted speaker on the issues of residential schools and reconciliation. Wherever possible, oftentimes school classrooms, Edward shared his experience of residential school and highlighted the impact that residential schools have on today’s society.
In a statement earlier this month from Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Bellegarde said “We express our deepest gratitude for his contribution in serving Canada in the Second World War. His effort and bravery will be remembered, as will his resilience as a residential school survivor.”
Edward also loved to dance Pow Wow, and would don his traditional men’s regalia, dancing all the way up to his 88th birthday. Edward was a man of culture, he loved to learn about other peoples’ cultures, and would gladly share knowledge of his own when asked. Edward leaves behind a very important legacy in the community for his family, and for all—a legacy that will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Edward Baldhead, 1928-2016. •