Obituary of Phyllis Jean Googoo
Googoo, Phyllis – Age 79, We’koqma’q First Nation.
Phyllis Googoo’s beautiful life ended sorrowfully with much of the same demeanor that she had lived it; as she gently faded away at the end of her battle with cancer. A woman who displayed courage, strength, gentleness, and Love, Phyllis took her final breath in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 20th, 2023 at 4:30 a.m. in the Victoria County Memorial Hospital, Baddeck.
Born to the late Louie and Annie (Isadore) Bernard on February 15th, 1944, Phyllis fondly reminisced of her early childhood and the many friends and family that surrounded her.
Phyllis’ life was like any great story, her life was full of its ups and downs, its trials and triumphs; A survivor of the Indian Residential School in Shubenacadie, Phyllis endured and witnessed unimaginable trauma for 10 long years. Despite the pain and adversity, she clung to her language, nurturing it in secret. She quietly and gently fought for her own healing, her family’s healing, and the healing of an entire nation. This battle to preserve her language and the trauma she witnessed, proved to be formative for Phyllis, leading her to become a mother who prioritized speaking the Mi’kmaw language at home with her children, an educator, and an advocate who fought to revitalize our language through innovative resource and curriculum development, advocacy at both regional and national levels, and through her experience as a Mi’kmaw teacher.
Her fight for reconciliation took her to all corners of the world, taking on major roles in the Indian Residential School class action suits as well as the truth and reconciliation commission. These roles in advocacy and education brought Phyllis to being a AFN Regional Elder, member of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, to being a core member of the Mi’kmawey Debert Elder Advisory Council, MK Language Advisory Committee,The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Elders Advisory Council, to many others that not only influenced Policy, Programming, and Curriculum; Phyllis also actively promoted the Mi’kmaw Language through her drum group, We’koqma’qewiskwa who have performed the Mi’kmaw Honour Song at many community events throughout the years.
Phyllis enjoyed many activities, whether it were visiting friends and gambling into the wee hours of the night, or hosting family get togethers for Sunday Dinners, paint nights with her daughter and granddaughters, or baking her famous tea biscuits. No matter what Phyllis did, it centred around at least one of her passions, her language, her friends, or her family. No birthday passed without a classic card and crisp $100 dollar bill, or a holiday without a family gathering at “Granny’s”.
When many reminisce of their interactions with Phyllis, they will remember how she created safe spaces wherever she went. The famous American Memoirist Maya Angelou perhaps said it best and exemplified Phyllis’ legacy when she said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Phyllis was Survived by her loving children, Linda (Bobby), Louie (Muriel), Dodd; Her grandchildren, Cassandra (Evan), Storm (Erica), Lucinda (John), Robbi, Avery (Samantha), Dakota, Dmitri, Victoria, Tahni, Lyndon, & Shane; Her great-grandchildren, whom she thought the world of, Sandreya, Elias, Zalie, Eden, Mason, Tiahna, Leilah, Archer, Stannis, Drax, Storme, Luther, Aven and Braeden; her best friend, Mary Ellen; aunts, Regina, Pauline, Niece Jane, and her adopted brother, Norman; godchildren, Pete Isadore, Sunshine Bernard, Vivian Googoo, Michael Paul, and Mary Florence Bernard. She was predeceased by her husband, Bernie B; her parents, Louie and Annie Bernard; siblings, Charlie, Roy, June, Sarah, baby Francis and baby Terrance; nephew Herman; niece Chrissy; Niece Margaret, Godchild Paul, and best friend Janet.
Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Ritter, Dr. Tribo and all of the wonderful nursing staff at the Victoria County Memorial Hospital for the great care and compassion in which you showed our Mother. Special Thanks to her Niece Jane and her daughters Paulina and Sinead for the spiritual guidance and support they gave us in our time of need.
Visitation will begin after 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the We’koqma’q Community Hall, 15 Reservation Rd. Funeral mass will take place Saturday, April 29 th at 11 a.m. from Blessed St. Katari Parish Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, We’Koqma’q First Nation officiated by Father Callistus Abazie. Cremation to follow with burial at a later date. Words of comfort may be forwarded to the family at: www.haverstocks.com