Larry Morrissette’s untimely death on September 19, 2016 is a great loss to Winnipeg’s Indigenous community and to all those active in making transformative change in Winnipeg’s inner city. Larry was the Executive Director of Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK), a co-founder of Children of the Earth High School, one of the originators of the Bear Clan Patrol, an experienced university educator, and a man who worked tirelessly for people in trouble or at risk of being in trouble with the law.
Larry also had a long and very fruitful connection with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba (CCPA-MB) and the Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA). He worked closely with John Loxley and a team of researchers on an archival project that involved preserving the history of Aboriginal institutional development in Winnipeg. Larry, Elizabeth Comack, Lawrie Deane, and Jim Silver worked with street gang members to produce a report, “If You Want to Change Violence in the ‘Hood, You Have to Change the ‘Hood” (CCPA–MB 2009). They subsequently collaborated to produce the award-winning book, “Indians Wear Red”: Colonialism, Resistance, and Aboriginal Street Gangs (Fernwood Publishing 2013). At the time of his passing, Larry was working with Elizabeth on two MRA projects: a longitudinal study with men who have been in trouble with the law, tracking their progress in realizing pimatiswin, and a social history of the Bear Clan Patrol and its roots in Bear Clan teachings.
Larry was highly regarded in Winnipeg’s inner city, and especially in the Indigenous community. For those of us at the CCPA–MB and the MRA, Larry was a valued source of knowledge and wisdom, a kind and gentle soul—and a good and trusted friend. He will be deeply missed.
Elizabeth Comack and Jim Silver