Walter Emery Linklater was born on July 24, 1939 at La Verendrye Hospital in Treaty #3 area, Fort Frances, Ont.
His early years were lived happily with his parents and grandparents on Waanawiikwedaang (Couchiching First Nation), where he spent his days roaming the land and assisting on the trapline.
Around the age of five, he was taken to Saint Marguerite Indian Residential School.
Walter attended the Indian Residential Schools for abour 12 years. As a result, Walter suffered from PTSD and, like many indigenous people, struggled with alcohol and all its negative effects. His life spiralled out of control and eventually he hit his bottom and realized he needed help. He was able to get treatment and attain his sobriety through A.A.
After years of living a sober life, Walter and Maria ran a foster care home, where they provided care for more than 350 children.
During this time, he met a traditional Elder, the late Noel Ducharme, who guided him back to his culture and language through traditional ceremonies. Eventually, his Anishinabemodda was strong and he conducted his ceremonies in the language.
As a very spiritual man, he consistently followed the traditional teachings and was able to make the lives of people from all nations better by sharing himself, his teachings, and the ceremonies.
Education always was important to Walter. In his early years, he completed his Grade 12 and then went on to attain a teachers' college certificate and eventually his Bachelor of Education degree. Afterwards, he began his career as an elementary teacher in many different First Nation communities and later he taught college and university courses in Thunder Bay, Ont. and Saskatoon, Sask.
When he was teaching in Thunderchild, he met the love of his life and married her 59 years ago. He loved and respected his wife and looked forward to celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next year.
He provided Elder services to numerous organizations and boards in Saskatoon, including the Saskatoon Police Service Advisory Council. He also was a member of the naming committee for Chief Mistawasis Bridge.
He always was more than willing to share his knowledge and teachings to ensure that people of all races and cultures could live in harmony.
As a young man, Walter was an avid baseball player and played with his uncles and brother, Clive, for the Couchiching Rainy Lake Indians. The team won many championships and swept the area teams year after year.
He also loved to umpire for the Thunder Bay men's baseball teams and the players looked forward to his expertise, fairness, and humour. He also enjoyed hockey, long-distance running and, later in life, playing poker with family.
Relationships and kinships were important to him and he maintained strong kinship with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunties, and cousins.
Walter was predeceased by his parents, Gus in 1956 and Emma in 1978; his children, an infant daughter in 1959 and son, Patty, in 2004; brothers, Harold in 1989, Randy in 2003, and Clive in 2007; in-laws, George Horse in 2006 and Minnie Horse in 2009; and grandson, Cody Bear, in 2001.
Walter leaves behind his beautiful and loving wife, Maria; children, Ron (Irene), Vernon (Jenny), Lyndon (Terri), Michael “Nanabush" (Sheena), Michael "Chooch,” Teedly, and Tracey Lynn; sisters, Nancy (Ron), Ruth Ann, and Ida; brother-in-law, Sen. Melvin Littlecrow; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and traditional adopted children.
The traditional wake service took place on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 at 4 p.m. and the traditional funeral service took place on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Charles Red Hawk Elementary School in the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.