September 25, 1939 – October 29, 2021
It is with deep sadness that we share that Violet Charlie (nee Morris) passed away peacefully on October 29th 2021 at the Lakes District Hospital, with her daughter Bernie and grandson Julian holding her hands.
Violet was born to the late Lucy Morris (nee Tom) and late Steven Morris on September 25th, 1939. She was the last survivor of her eight siblings, and was also the last surviving aunt to her late husband Ben Charlie’s family.
Violet was predeceased by her late children Baby Eddie, Fred and Carl; her late grandchildren Sheldon, Andrea and Tamara; and her late husband Ben Charlie Sr, with whom she shared 58 years of marriage and nine children with.
Violet is survived by her children Ben Jr, Yvonne (Henry), Marvin, Lucy, Jerome and Bernie (Dan). She is also survived by thirteen grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all of whom she loved dearly.
From an early age, Violet lived a very challenging but fulfilling traditional lifestyle. She learned from her father and brothers how to hunt, trap, fish, and gather berries and medicines around the areas of Noralee, Southside, Forestdale, and near Houston.
In her youth, her extended family lived closely and communely in C’iggiz – also known as Duncan Lake. She always spoke very fondly of her early years spent here with her father, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, enjoying their peaceful and cultural ways of life before the world began to change.
At only six years old, Violet mourned the passing of her mother Lucy. Shortly after the loss of her mother, she was sent to Lejac Residential School for four years. Although it was hard on her heart to be away from her family, Violet persevered and eventually excelled in school.
The education and skills that she learned were reading, writing, sewing and cooking. She was often called upon to help the staff and other students because she was very smart, compassionate, and hardworking. After she left Lejac, she also attended school in Rose Lake and Noralee.
In 1959, Violet was introduced to her husband Ben by a friend at the Omineca Cafe in Burns Lake. They dated for three months before her father insisted they become an honest couple, and so they married on July 19th, 1959. Together they moved throughout the territory to follow Ben’s employment in the logging industry. In 1966, shortly after Ben was seriously injured in a sawmill accident, they finally settled on the Woyenne Reserve.
Throughout her entire life, Violet was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. She was an excellent cook, seamstress, crafter, and domestic engineer for her family. Violet was also a cultural doula and midwife to many women who sought her support as they were preparing to give birth.
Throughout their years together, Violet and Ben were considered to be a safe home in the community, as they took in many nieces, nephews and foster children that needed a place to stay. She also cared for her late father Steven in his elder years until his passing in 1986. Violet was so strong, comforting, and knowledgeable, and was a pillar of support for all those she loved.
Violet was a devout and faithful Catholic. She attended church regularly, served as a Eucharistic minister, sang in the church choir, and visited the elderly in nursing homes and the sick in hospitals. She was well known for her faith and was well respected because she served the people with dignity, integrity and humility.
She was a proud Godmother to numerous children who considered her to be a very inspirational and spiritual leader in their lives. Violet always went wherever she was needed to support others in prayer and guidance.
Violet was also a Hereditary Chief in our traditional governance system of the Potlatch. For many years she carried the name Del Za Tse Kiy, meaning Lady of the Nighthawk. She was very generous and hardworking in this role and always did her best to honour her family and clan. Violet was a teacher and mentor to many who sought knowledge in traditional history, culture and language.
She grew up speaking her Carrier ancestors’ language first and English second, so she deeply appreciated spending time with her cousins, friends, fellow elders and chiefs speaking their language with ease and humour. Her gentle presence in our feast hall will be dearly missed, as she walked with admirable integrity and grace.
Violet was the true heartbeat of her family. She supported nearly every milestone in her immediate and extended families. She loved to attend gatherings to celebrate birthdays, graduations, religious events, weddings and anniversaries, and she did her best to honour as many invitations as she could no matter the distance. Violet was cherished by her family, for she took every opportunity to create joyful memories with her loved ones.
Words cannot express the tremendous loss that Violet’s passing has left on her family and community. She was a true Matriarch, formed by the knowledge and traditions of her ancestors. Through a lifetime of resilience, truth, wisdom,bravery, respect, honesty,humility, generosity, hope, faith, perseverance and love, she created a legacy that will be passed down for generations.
The family would like to express our gratitude to the following people: Dr Annandale, thank you for the outstanding care and support you provided to her throughout her final years. Dr Graetz and Nurses Linda, Linda S, Chrissy and the entire medical team at Lakes District Hospital, thank you for accommodating our mother in her final days and for providing comfort to our family.
We acknowledge and appreciate your dedication to your careers throughout this challenging Covid-19 pandemic. To the Lake Babine Nation Leadership and staff, thank you for your support shown to our mother throughout her life, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to the LBN Elders’ Group and the entire community.
To Wet’suwet’en First Nation,Yinka Dene Economic Development staff, Elders Group and community, we thank you for all of your generous support. We are grateful to all those who provided us with the cooking and delivery of delicious meals. We express our deepest gratitude to all those near and far who have provided our family with food, flowers, and financial, emotional and spiritual support in the loss of our mother.
The funeral proceedings were as follows;
Funeral Mass: Friday, November 5, 2021 at 1 pm. Immaculata Catholic Church via zoom and social media. Internment: Paddy Isaac Memorial Cemetary, C’iggiz, Duncan Lake, BC via social media.
Bahlats: Nec’igeh Beyikh Community Hall via zoom. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic there were strict limitations on all funeral proceedings. It was not the Charlie Family’s intention to hurt or insult anyone during this difficult time. We know that many were with us in spirit to lay her to eternal rest with her Ancestors and her Savior God. Mesiy cho. Thank you.Obituary
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