Thursday, October 01, 2020


October, 2007

In Memory of Frank

It is with considerable sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and associate, Dr. Frank Cassidy. And we extend our deepest sympathies, our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Carol and his daughters, Amy and Megan. Frank passed away at home on Sunday, in the presence of his loving wife, from health problems related to a stroke that he had in early 2004.

Frank’s relationship with the Centre was significant. His tireless, enthusiastic energy helped create this organization. Collaborating with Satsan, Frank drafted the first conceptual framework for the design of the Centre. His framework became the foundational piece that we all worked from, and still work from, and it became what we now know as the National Centre for First Nations Governance. In Satsan’s words, “We worked so closely together, from the original vision of the Centre to its full implementation, that I consider him co-founder of this national organization”.

Frank leaves all of us with a profound legacy of knowledge and work on contemporary Aboriginal issues. He was a pioneer in the academic world at recognizing Aboriginal Rights, Title and Governance and was the author of many books and papers that academics, legal scholars and even the courts continue to reference in their work.

Frank Cassidy 2Long before universities recognized the contributions that Aboriginal peoples could make to their schools, Frank broke new ground among Canadian universities by creating the “Administration of Aboriginal Governments Program” at the University of Victoria where he taught in the School of Public Administration.

He was a deeply passionate man. He was passionate to see justice and reconciliation brought to Aboriginal peoples and Canadians alike. As an active member of the Wet’suwet’en legal team he advised the Hereditary Chiefs and legal council on structuring the arguments that lead to the stunning success of the Delgamuukw/Gisday’wa Supreme Court Decision.

Frank was also a family man deeply committed to his two daughters and wife Carol. He spent many years in Gitxsan Territory in the Kispiox Valley raising his family and working with both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations.

Outside of Frank’s tireless world of work there was the other side of Frank, a man that leaves us with many fond memories. Memories of his love for jazz, Gabeh rugs from the desert tribes of Iran, Turkish cigarettes, West coast native art, his cabin in the Kispiox Valley, home cooked French cuisine, serenading friends and wife in hotel lobbies and on the street, his quick wit, spontaneity, humour, brilliant mind, perpetually tussled hair and above all, his wonderful smile and laughter.

Frank we will miss you so much.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Hazelton District Public Library (Cassidy Collection)
Hazelton District Public Library
Box 323, Hazelton BC
V0J 1Y0
(250) 842 - 5961

Frank’s Family and the NCFNG have organized a memorial service to celebrate Frank Cassidy’s life:
Saturday, October 13th, 2007 from 2 until 4 pm at the University Club, University of Victoria

RSVP if possible to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by October 10th to allow time for the School to advise the organizers of general expected attendance numbers from the School community. However, those who are unable to RSVP ahead of time are still welcome to join the gathering.

A Memorial Service will also be held in Kispiox, BC at a date to be determined.