Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton passed away at the age of 70, with his loving partner Sally Patton and his family by his side. He leaves his daughter Jodie and son Aaron, along with his beloved grandchildren Sahanatie and Rayce-Barrett Leblanc. Predeceased by his parents Peter and Hazel Hemlock Norton, his brothers Louis (“Sonny”) and George (“Pidgie”) and sister Selma. Joe Norton came from a large and loving family including his brothers and sisters Edna, Elizabeth, Roger, Esther, Jennifer (Dennis), David (Lesley), Faye and Timmy (Noreen), along with uncles Denis Norton and Johnny Hemlock and aunt Louise Hemlock as well as his Skead family in Kenora, Ontario. He leaves numerous nieces, nephews, colleagues and friends.
The family will receive condolences at the Kahnawà:ke Sports Complex. Visiting hours are as follows:
Monday: 12 noon – 5pm, 6pm – 9pm
Tuesday: 9am- 12pm, 1pm – 5pm, 6pm – 9pm
Wednesday: 10am - Speakers followed by 11am Service at the Kahnawà:ke Sports Complex
The family would like to remind all visitors that masks are mandatory and observe social distancing.
Joe Norton was a remarkable man and led a remarkable life. He was an ironworker (he worked on the World Trade Center), lacrosse coach, leader, statesman, and visionary. He was a man who fought for his people, and for the rights of all Indigenous persons. He was known and respected far and wide – nationally and internationally – for his many accomplishments for both his community and for Indigenous people everywhere. For all of these he could take great pride, yet foremost to him was the pride he took in being a family man, with endless love for those most precious to him.
He was first elected to office in 1978 and in 1982, at the age of 32, became Grand Chief until retiring from office in 2004. After spending time in the private sector, he once again ran successfully for the office of Grand Chief in 2015 and was reelected in 2018. Though he left us too soon, he will be remembered for generations to come. As his journey on Mother Earth comes to an end, may he be welcomed to the Spirit World by those who walked the path before him.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be addressed to the Kahnawà:ke Language Nest.
Your memory is like a book that you read and reread without ever closing it.