With a heavy heart I am sorry to say that Caroline Bjorklund passed away recently. Caroline, a Dene woman from Churchill, Manitoba, will not be forgotten. Her sweet heart, sense of humor, big smile and mission in life as an ambassador for the Dene people will stand out in my mind forever. I have known Caroline since I started guiding in Churchill in 2004 as she did evening talks for our groups, highlighting both the beauty of her ancestor’s ability to live off the land, and the travesty that their people endured by the Canadian Government in the 1950’s-1970’s when they were stripped of their traditional lifestyle and forced to conform to modern society. Her story was sad, often eliciting tears from listeners and herself as it was told. Her courageous honesty during these talks helped her heal, as well as helped preserve the cultural legacy of the Sayisi Dene people through the dying art of storytelling.
I overslept and missed my flight out of Winnipeg when my aurora season was over and was stuck in Winnipeg for an extra day. I realized that this was a blessing in disguise as I could go visit Caroline who was in the Intensive care unit at a nearby hospital, battling pneumonia. I was able to visit with her and her daughter, hold her hand, and get a few more of the hugs that I love so much.
Goodbye Caroline. We will all miss you dearly, and think of you every time we see the aurora dance over Churchill. I know you got the warmest of welcomes up there, and got lots of hugs from your family and admirers in the skies. Love, Brad.
Read more about the heartbreaking story of the Sayisi Dene.
Read a beautiful description of her cultural talks by a past nathab traveler.
Wonderful write up on Caroline and her Churchill story!
Thank you for sharing this of my grandma. She would have been honored.
A wonderful tribute to a beautiful woman. I am so fortune that I was a part of one of those groups with whom she shared her story. I think daily of the people in Churchill and look forward to a time I can return.
Beautifully written Brad… a very touching tribute. And you missing that flight was meant to be, that was not a coincidence. I truly believe that. Only met Caroline once when she spoke to our group. She was very passionate about the touching stories that she told. She will truly be missed in the community.
Lovely tribute to our Churchill”Grandma”, Brad! She will be missed everywhere from her talks to tourists, the school where she taught our youth to sew, including my son…which I never thought was possible 😂, to our very own sewing group where she cheered us on as we finished a project or hollered our “Take it apart” if we screwed up. She will be missed on the streets as she would cruise by on her ATV, with the biggest smile and wave, she will be missed at the bonfires along the Hudson Bay or Churchill River shorelines. We lost a beautiful soul, but she is now reunited with her beloved husband Carmen ❤️❤️
Thank you for the beautiful words for Caorline, Brad, she will never be forgotten & was such an awesome soul !!She gave so much of herself even tho she lost so much thru out her life.She told things out right & was loved by all who knew her !!! Thanx again !!!
Yeah, Brad. Thank you for your heart.
Caroline touched my heart in the short time that I knew her. So sad to hear of her passing.
Such a courages beautiful soul. My world is softer because she cared enough to share her world. May she Rest In Peace.
My wife and I traveled to Churchill in the fall of 2015 on a Natural Habitat tour. One of the highlights of this tour was the evening that we spend with Caroline as she told of her life and experiences. At the conclusion of her talk, we purchased a book detailing her life and the many hardships she encountered. Unfortunately, we have misplaced this book and I was wondering if you could recall the name of this book and where we could purchase another one. Caroline was a special person and will always remain in our thoughts whenever we discuss our Cherchill adventure!
I think it must be night spirits
you were such a great friend to Caroline , Brad, & I am so glad I met you too !!!I really miss driver but getting to old for it as I`m going to be 66 this year !!!Stay well & keep on keeping on !!!!