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Honouring Dick Hill

When someone who inspired foundational change in the community leaves us, it is very important to take the time to acknowledge such a loss. Such is the case for Six Nations this week as we say goodbye to Dick Hill.

“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes – goodwill among men and peace on earth.” – Albert Einstein

When someone who inspired foundational change in the community leaves us, it is very important to take the time to acknowledge such a loss. Such is the case for Six Nations this week as we say goodbye to Dick Hill.

My first memory of Dick is our families working together with others here at Six to gather food, diapers and supplies for the people of Kahnesatake during the “Oka Crisis of 1990”. He was part of a delegation to bring what was needed to our ‘cousints’ out east. My parents would take all us kids down to the community hall to gather supplies and the men would deliver those supplies while the community was blockaded.

Funny, during the reclamation at Kahnostaton, that is what I remember too. Dick pulling into HQ in his SUV unloading crates full of bottled water and a couple bags of rollies. Other times he’d pull in with a stack of pizzas for the men and women holding the line. He’d walk around the site dutifully, keeping an eye on all of us and sometimes he’d stop and chat. More often than not the chats I got were more like lectures warning us younger girls to keep away from certain young men that were not behaving as they should. The point is, Dick was always looking out for all of us.

And that is what he always did. When something wasn’t right, and it just didn’t sit right in his spirit, he stood up and spoke out. He used that powerful booming voice of his to say, ‘Enough!’. And eventually that voice brought strength to the spirits of the rest of us, and we began to stand up and say “Enough!’ as well. Dick Hill made all of us stronger.

We need people like this in every nation on the face of the earth. People who carry that spirit of bravery and boldness, combined with an absolute understanding of history and truth are like sharp arrows that can pierce through the armour of any lie, and take down any kind of political PR spin.

In the last few years I was sad to hear he had become ill. Early Tuesday morning when we got word he has started his journey back to Skyworld I felt sad, and very grateful to have known him in this life. I want to offer my condolences to the family, and share that Dick is someone who made me stronger just because he lived and because of who he was. He loved this community fiercely, and instilled that love in his wife and children. When I saw that, it also inspired fierce love inside of my spirit and for that I am grateful as well. We are a better community because he carried that spirit, and spread it to many who will carry it on. Travel on well Dick.

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow is Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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