Monday, November 4, 2019

Max Deranger


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July 7 1963 – October 31, 2019

This week, we will be gathered to remember, the life of our baby brother Maxi, who was taken too soon from us. 

We have no control over how short or how long our life will be, and if love could hold us here, Maxi would still be with us. Because he was truly loved by all who are here today.  He touched each and every one of us. He created a lasting impression in our hearts, of what it means to be a man, human, a nephew, a brother, a cousin. Max never married and didn't have any children.

Maxi’s passing into the spirit world got me thinking about our purpose in this life.  Every one of us has a purpose and this is our unique and special gift. I am confident that Max lived his true purpose, with integrity, with authenticity, and with grace.  which is evident in the way he lived. He was a helper, caregiver, teacher, and always a solid and dependable friend.

Max was born in Uranium City; Saskatchewan July 7, 1963. He was the youngest of the 19 children who were born to Mama and Baba.  Max lived a full life.  He was a confident, self-assured man. To the people in Fort Chipewyan, he was known as “Bushman” for his love of being on the land. 

One evening, as a child he was looking at the full moon and argued with his niece Beatrice and brother Chris – it’s a moon, no it’s a plate and Max said ‘no, it’s a ball.’
As a child he got his nickname A-A-WaWa from his grandfather Chris Adam because he was how he asked for bannock and water. When he was little, our family tried to break him of the habit of sucking his thumb. They put pepper on it, and then salt, but nothing could deter him from sucking his thumb.
 
He enjoyed working with his hands and built tree houses.  Many kids climbed up and fell off.  He played alone mainly with his collection of army men and cars.  He would be seen on the floor attentively lining them up on the floor.  And, he enjoyed building model planes. Max was very imaginative, and creative.

In high school, he joined the wrestling team, and excelled.  He enjoyed teaching the boys in the family since they were children how to wrestle, punch and kick, and the importance of the mental as well as the physical aspect of fighting. How to work out, how to maintain a proper diet. And how to build muscle and strength. He said the three most important things in fighting are ‘speed, flexibility and endurance and to also come up with your own fighting style that is unique and be confident in your style to win.’ A true champion is the one that can come back from a loss and learn and win again. That is a true champion. Max most definitely was a true champion.

Max was resilient. Although he went through a lot, it all made him stronger. He lost his front teeth one evening when the car he was in rolled and he went through the windshield. He went through the lake ice a few years ago with his friend Charlie Cardinal and they had to hurry to shore to gather wood, build a fire and dry off. While hitching across Canada Max witnessed and helped many people during his travels and was first on the scene for numerous car wrecks on the highways. He told us about the people he helped save. He was proud of the fact that he was able to help many people.
He traveled across Canada as a youth after volunteering to join the Federal program called Katimavik. Their mission was to develop diverse youth and engage them while forming them into capable contributors and leaders.  He was proud of his experience traveling across Canada in the program.

He was brought into our lives to teach us, make us strong and prepare us for hard times; always telling us to stock up on dry goods and outdoor gear. Right until his passing, he continued to give advice on how to be the best person we can be. He mentioned the night before he passed, that we have to work harder to get along, and to support each other. In particular, within our family, we should not be divided, we must get along, put aside our petty grievances, and love and honour each other. We would do well to observe his wise words.

Max worked for Syncrude in 1988-1990 in the wash bay washing all the big heavy equipment, which he enjoyed. Max also worked for Clearwater Welding and became good friends with the owner Doug Golosky and family. When Baba became sick Max put his life on hold for 4 years to honor his father’s last wish to die at home. Max honored this and took care of Baba until he passed away in 1993.

Max then moved to BC to attend the University of British Columbia for 3 years, studying anthropology which is the study of Human behavior and societies in the past and present. He was proud of his lineage and heritage, and his connection to the land and his language resulted in a major project for anthropology he produced a report on Mama and Baba and their connection to the land.  Max enjoyed the outdoors and spent many summers working as a professional landscaper in Vancouver working for some of the local millionaires that he befriended in the mid 90’s.

He was good-natured, kind and gentle.  He enjoyed sharing his knowledge.


In his later years he moved back to Fort McMurray and then finally Fort Chipewyan. Even with his heart condition worsening he continued his love of hard work doing what he enjoyed, landscaping with his good friend Charles Wilson. Max always wanted his own permanent home in Fort Chip but at the same time he was always a nomadic restless spirit who travelled and befriended everyone and left a lasting impression on their lives.

He was really proud of his home in Fort Chipewyan. Anyone who entered his home could see pride he had. It was spotless, and he had on his walls souvenirs from Mama and Baba, with feathers next to them. He had posters of past warriors, like Geronimo, Black Elk, etc. He had humility, and would not have considered that he too was a. warrior. But in my eye he was a modern-day warrior. Strong, focused. A leader.

Mad Max was no longer restlessness. He was at peace with himself. He was content and in his last days he was a very happy man because his life was fulfilled, and he knew he did not have long to be with us. To the family he did everything he said he was going to do but I’m sure he wanted to do more. Max began his journey into the Spirit world the morning of October 31, 2019. 

I will miss him Dearly   






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