Cowichan people mourn elder

Wes Modeste - Andrew Leong/file
Wes Modeste
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Cowichan Tribes elder, former chief, and Cowichan school board trustee Ernest Wesley (Wes) Modeste died Tuesday night in hospital after a losing his battle with cancer.

He was 71.

Services are set for Sunday and Monday for the traditional chief of the Quamichan people.

“Wes worked with the Cowichan Tribes community for years and years in different aspects,” said brother-in-law Chip Seymour.

“It’s such a loss to the whole community. “Back in the ‘70s Wes sat on council for years and years, and was involved with treaty talks, economic development, and land governance,” said Seymour who’s known Modeste for most of his life.

“I was 13 when he married my sister, Dianne.”

Long-time friend Don Maroc was also saddened by the death of Modeste who suffered a stroke about 2 1/2 years ago.

“I visited him hospital every day during the past 2 1/2 years and I never heard him say a negative thing.

“He’s a bigger-than-life guy.”

So big, Maroc and Modeste were planning to write a book about Cowichan culture before white contact, said veteran local journalist Maroc.

“Wes wanted to get the record down, and he admired the film work (about Cowichan people) Harold Joe Jr. has done.”

Maroc described his pal as a visionary who cherished his people’s oral traditions.

“Wes was always looking ahead to the future and didn’t dwell on the past. He was a great man.”

Prayers for Modeste happen Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Si’em Lelum Gym, followed by Monday’s funeral mass at 9:30 a.m.

Modest will be buried at St. Ann’s Cemetery on Tzouhalem Road.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Grant aims to promote physical literacy for kids
Coroner confirms body that of missing senior
NDP blasts lottery corporation spending
Surrey murder victim identifed as Jaylen Sandhu, 17
Lava slows but still on track to hit Hawaii market
Having fun at Hilton Centre
Deep Bay Marine Station — whale bones sold out
Just call TVs Mr. D, Mr. Lucky
Michael W. Smith brings Christmas spirit to the Abbotsford Centre

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.