Miigwaneyaash Minewa Niizhwe Izhinikaazo
It with great sadness the family announces the sudden passing of Justin James McGinnis, 45, of Rainy River First Nations on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at his residence.
Justin was the first and only son born June 20, 1975 to Leona and Harvey. He embraced his French and Indigenous blood line and the cultures of both making him an avid hunter and fisherman. He could bring in a sturgeon with a shoe lace. He had a special connection to the animals. When he was 12 years of age he brought home a wounded raven with a broken leg. He used a splint, made a home in a shoe box and nursed Blackie to wellness. Blackie as he named him bonded with Justin. He sat on his shoulder as they walked the rez. Blackie would wait for the school bus to greet him. He stayed with the family for four years and on that year he brought a mama and 3 little ones to let Justin know he had a family to take care of now and would not be back. When he was a little older, he was walking in the bush and on the way home, a newborn fawn followed him home. The mother had been killed. Bambi the fawn lived in our home for 2 weeks. He taught him to go to the door when he needed to pee. Bambi would call Justin “Maa.” Justin fit easily in both worlds which let him switch hats when it was convenient. One day he would be white and the next day he would be the Ojibwe warrior.
When Justin was 8 he wanted an Anishinaabe name so bad. His mom delayed that because of his French heritage but one day he walked in the door and he told his Grandpa, “I have a name now and it is Niizhwe” meaning one of two languages. This prompted mother going to an elder and asking for Justin to be given a name.
The late Elder Eddie Black named Justin, Miigwaneyaash, Eagle Feather in flight but said he would also keep the name he gave himself which was “Niizhwe.”
Justin was very gifted, he loved animals and the animals loved him. He told his mom he was having recurring dreams about a moose that was chasing him. His mom said, let him catch you because he has something for you. The same with a Bear and Eagle. He was given the gift to know how to skin the Moose and Bear for ceremonial purposes and how to clean an eagle for the same sacred purpose.
Justin had a big big heart, He loved his many friends young and old. He loved his brothers and sisters, Cote, Marty, Jason, Joal, Todd, Robin, Dylan, Ruthann, Melissa, Genny, Katie, Shana, Jilana. He loved all his nieces and nephews immensely, Caden who he called “Pencil,” Issiah, Mila, Hank, Kayla, Mya, William, Carter, Jayden, Rena, Rya, Bryton, Divana, Ocean, Bayzhik, Marcus, Animiki, August, Alayna, Oaklynn, Daeton, Tianna, Ari, Kennedy, Jayman, Jersey, Dalis, Ian, Joshua, Destiny, Reece, Harmony, Journey, Seren, Laney, Paige. He was a favourite uncle and a favourite baby-sitter.
Justin had a unique and special relationship with his aunties and uncles and always stepped up to help when asked.
Caden’s favourite memory of his uncle was when he was 7, he took him in the boat fishing on the river, without grandma’s knowledge of course. The motor stopped and Justin couldn’t get it going again so he jumped in the river and pulled the boat to shore. Uncle was his super hero.
Justin loved Manitou Rapids, he never ventured too far away. He has a rock painting of a horse at the rapids. Again, with his connections to the animals and animal spirits he was given the gift to share stories through his art. Friends and relatives are welcome to see this.
Justin’s sons Brandon and Rowdy were the apple of his eye but his grandson Karson stole his heart. Becoming a papa was a milestone that was special. Karson had his papa wrapped around his finger. Papa was the best reader, Papa and Karson would cruise the Rez on a bike with him on the shoulder. When Justin got to know his daughter-in-law Karma who was a whiz with the hammer and assembling things and being a good mom and partner, he said he didn’t have to worry about Brandon because he would be okay. He called Karma his daughter.
He was so proud of Brandon and his achievements so much that Justin was motivated to get his grade 12 a month before Brandon graduated in 2012. He had an impressive resume with training and certificates in construction, mining and water treatment operations but was unable to use because of his illness that few were aware of.
There are many memories and stories about Justin, funny and sad in the hearts of his family and friends. Friends have been chosen as his pallbearers and if we have left anybody out please know that Justin knows who you all are and please accept our apologies.
He will be lovingly remembered by his mom Leona; his sons Brandon (Karma), and Rowdy and grandson Karson; his brother Cote (Rebecca). Also survived by his uncles Sonny, Willie (Tina), his aunts Bev (Allan) and Agnes (Gilbert) and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Justin was predeceased by his father Harvey Parent; his first love and partner Eleanor; his infant son Justin Jr.; Grandparents, Genny and Harold McGinnis; his bros Josh, Ian and Jeff.
A traditional wake was held at the Rainy River First Nations Gymnasium on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 6 p.m. followed by a traditional service on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 11 a.m Elder Albert Hunter and the Manitou Singers presiding.
Pall Bearers will be Lee (Poot) Mosley, Mark (Grizz) Farrington, Joal Wilson, Bryton Wilson, Robin McGinnis, Marty Wilson, Joe Big George, Tyrone Taylor
Honorary pallbearers will be Shane McQuaker, Dusty Bombay, Dylan McGinnis, Todd McGinnis, Jason Wilson, Shawn Brown, Stan Horton, Brittany Dodd, Jessica Swampy and all his many friends.
Happy Journey Justin as you travel to meet all those who have gone on to the next life where grandma, grandpa, your dad, your son, Eleanor and other friends and relatives wait for you. Those you have left behind love you and we will hang on to our special memories of you. Arrangements entrusted to Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.