Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Cecil King
“Let’s celebrate who we are…Let us remember that we are the descendants of great civilizations. We are the inheritors of great knowledge of the universe and the physical world and knowledge of the interrelationships of human beings with the rest of Creation.” —Cecil King
Today the staff at University of Regina Press honours and remembers Dr. Cecil King, who has passed away at the age of ninety years old.
Recently, we were lucky enough to work with Dr. King and his family on his memoir, The Boy from Buzwah: A Life in Indian Education—a powerful testimony to his life and legacy.
Dr. King grew up in the small settlement of Buzwah, Ontario, situated on Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island. After attending Indian Day School, St. Charles Garnier Residential School, and teachers’ college, he embarked on an unparalleled journey to ensure Indian Control of Indian Education in Canada.
Dr. King helped create curriculum that connected to traditional Indigenous cultures and established First Nation language courses. Over the course of his career in education, which spanned over sixty years, he founded the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan, became the first director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen’s University, and developed Ojibwe language courses across North America.
Dr. King was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, and in 2009 he received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his outstanding lifelong contributions in education.
It was a great privilege and honour to work with Dr. King, and to be entrusted with his remarkable story. We send our deepest condolences to all his family and friends, and the innumerable students whose lives Cecil touched along the way.