In 2003, I joined the federal public service. I have dedicated more than a decade of my work on indigenous issues and currently a Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Affairs with the Department of Canadian Heritage. I am the Founder and Director of the Isa Mundo Foundation which was launched in 2005. I know that all these endeavors were shaped in some way by Professor Pawley. He always believed that I would find a way to contribute, his role was to support and inspire, which he did in countless ways. In our last encounter, he reminded me to be a strong and compassionate public servant. To always consult, be inclusive and to stand for things I believed in. I remember him telling me how Isa Mundo is a legacy I should be proud of and to continue the work despite the challenges and stress of directing a non-profit organization. He said in the future, I will see generations of children and youth who benefited from our projects by providing opportunities to be able to contribute to their families, communities and nations.
It took some time for me to digest the fact that I would no longer be able to contact Professor Pawley via email or see him in Ottawa from time to time. Upon his passing, I read accolades about his life’s work and I learned how respected and praised he was for his “ability to listen, to consult and to lead gently by consensus”. As I read tributes for him, I am grateful that I was able to spend time and converse with Professor Pawley and so thankful for his friendship.
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