Paul Mountain 1968-2006
Aka. Paul Cardinal
At the beginning of December 2006 Paul died on the steets of
Edmonton. Official cause of death was Double Pneumonia. The
Pneumonia was brought on by Hypothermia - Exposure - during a cold spell.
Paul was homeless, living on the steets. By the time EMT got to him it was
Paul was born in 1968:
grandson of Chief Lawrence Mountain
g-grandson of Adam Mountain
gg-grandson of Asini Wachi (Mountain), Headman of the Warrior's
Lodge among the Kehewin Band which was charged with keeping
the livestock and distributing rations for Big Bear's people
in the 1885 rebellion.
ggg-grandson of Chief Kiskiyew (Bobtail), Chief of the ASINI WACHI
WININIWAK (Mountain People) Cree and Nakoda and Head Chief of
the Western Cree
gggg-grandson of Chief Pesew, Head Chief of the ASINI WACHI
descendant of Jean Hebert, first Doctor in Quebec and Jean
Nicolet, first explorer of the Great Lakes.
descendant of SISIP PIMOTIWEW, first known Cree Chief in the west.
In his teens Paul was exceptionally bright, with above average I.Q., full of
dreams and aspirations and with the prospects of a bright future. Early in
his life the family was abandoned by his father - which was no great loss,
and the family was taken in hand by his step-father Jacques ("Jack"), a hard-
working man who did his best to try to raise the kids to be part of middle-
Paul excelled in school and became a serious student of the Martial Arts.
The family moved to Beaver Lake Reserve where Jack began developing a small
farmstead with chickens, pigs, garden, etc, all without Band help. Together
Jack and the boys built two small seperate houses for the oldest sons. The
family was forced off the reserve because Jack was not Indian enough for
Shortly thereafter a favourite
Uncle was killed in an
accidental gun dischage,
followed by a cousin being
killed in Edmonton's inner
city. Over the years the
mother had developed a
dependency on perscription
painkillers; Jack, unable to
cope with the continued
dependency and resultant
family issues left. The
family began to slip into Paul (right) in 1981
the inner city environmnt.
Shortly thereafter Paul was shot in the head. The wound was not fatal, but
caused a change in the personality. Unable to cope with the family's slipping
into the Inner City lifestyle, Paul took on the persona of a clown or fool
to escape reality and avoid taking responsibilities. Instead, he became
incresingly aimless and careless of his own wellbeing, drifting evermore into
a homeless lifestyle, broken by half-hearted concessions to stability while
living with his girlfriend. He took delight in shocking people with anecdotes
of his experiences. He took to making up stories.
A few years later saw the death of his only KOKOM, followed a year later a younge
brother being killed in Edmonton. This was followed by a brother committing
suicide. Earlier in 2006 his mother died of cancer. All this weighed heavily
on him, along with other problems being suffered by the family due to their
inner city lifestyle.
Paul avoided both alcohol, drug dependency and jail. More often he railed
against drug and alcohol abuse and against criminal activity - which others
of the inner city often felt made him a pain in the ass. He never becam a
gang member or associate.
Many people who did not really know him considered him as borderline crazy,
if not actually crazy.
Those who knew him knew his behavior was a facade - escapism from the world
around him. A way to cope. Underneath was still the intelligent young man
that he could have been, with whom it was still possible to broach
intelligent and thoughtful conversations. The stories he made up were often
about a supposed opportunity that had come or was coming his way which -
though never stated as such - would get him out of the world he was living
in. In his stories he always showed a willingess to accept responsibility.
Efforts were made by some of the family a decade ago to 'rescue' some of us
who had drifted into the inner city, by starting a rural co-operative.
Though enthusiastic, the draw of the inner-city lifestyle was too great for
most, and the attempt had to be abandoned.
In life Paul had given up; in his spirit he always held the dream that help
would come to help him escape from his environment. It never came. The help
needed simply does not exist in the commerical 8-5 Helping Professions
industry. Perhaps that is why so many of the marginalized join the gangs.
Had Paul been active in the gangs he might have had more opportunity.
Perhaps it would be fair to say that we, as a family, failed you Paul.
Certainly the Social Agencies, Band, City and Government did.
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718 Blackfalds, AB
CANADA T0M 0J0