It is with great sadness and respect that Kegedonce Press says a fond "baamaapii gwabmin" to Basil H. Johnston, our dear friend, renowned author, celebrated storyteller, tireless promoter of the Anishinaabe language, and much loved member of the Kegedonce Press family as he makes his journey across the path of stars. It has been our great joy and honour to have worked with Basil over the past years to share his work with the public. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude for Basil's generosity, humour, straightforwardness, and laughter. We hold many wonderful memories of him both personally and professionally and know that our lives, and the lives of his many friends and readers, were enriched for having known him. Basil, we will miss you deeply. K'zaugin and chi megwetch for the tremendous legacy you have left us all. Until we meet again... The Kegedonce Press Family - Sept. 10, 2015
Back in 1968 a grade 5 student, after studying Indians in depth for five weeks, asked Basil Johnston, a visitor to the school, "Is that all there is to Indians, Sir?"Since that time Basil Johnston wrote over 15 books in English and 5 in Ojibway to show that there is much more to North American life than social organization, hunting and fishing, food preparation, clothing, dwellings and transportation. Basil Johnston was an esteemed Anishinaabe writer, storyteller, language teacher and scholar. He was born in Wasauking First Nation in 1929, and was a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Johnston was awarded the Order of Ontario, three honourary doctorates, and the 2013 OAC Aboriginal Arts Award.
Among the books that Basil wrote are Ojibway Heritage, Indian School Days, The Manitous and Crazy Dave. In addition he has written numerous articles that have been published in newspapers, anthologies and periodicals. But the key to understanding culture is language and to provide this key, Basil Johnston has developed audio programs on cassette and CD. For his work, he has received the Order of Ontario and Honourary Doctorates from the University of Toronto and Laurentian University.
In June 2013, Basil Johnston was awarded the Aboriginal Arts Award from the Ontario Arts Council. Read about it here.