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Tribe in mourning
Prominent elder and healer dies

by Gordon Hoekstra
Prince George Citizen - March 19, 2010

   Sophie Thomas, a respected Dakelh elder and traditional healer, passed away Wednesday in her Saik'uz village home south of Vanderhoof.

   Thomas was believed to be in her 80s.

Sophie Thomas

   The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council noted Thursday that Thomas was an "incredible" teacher and recognized for her works and contribution to traditional practices and knowledge.

   Her notable works include the movie The Warmth of Love: The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas, produced by environmentalist and musician Terry Jacks, formerly of The Poppy Family; and a book, Plants and Medicines of Sophie Thomas.

   According to her website, www.sophiethomas.org, for the past 20 years she has been invited to speak at elementary and high schools, colleges, and universities. She has alos spoken at international conferences, sharing her knowledge of herbs and traditional Carrier healing.

   Thomas was a founding member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, which represents eight First Nations west of Prince George, as well as the Yinka Dene Language Institute.

   She was to receive an honourary degree from UNBC this 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 tribal council vice-chief Terry Teegee.

   "We are fortunate to have known and learned from her. We send our condolences and prayers to the Thomas family."