Robert Bruce Obituary, Death – My sincerest condolences go out to Robert’s children, grandkids, and other family members located throughout the Gwitchin Nation and beyond afield. It has been a privilege for me to have spent my childhood in Old Crow and to have witnessed Robert Bruce Jr.’s leadership and active participation in the community during my whole life. Due to the fact that Robert and his late wife Dorothy Rispin were good friends of my parents, I spent a lot of my childhood years hanging out with both of them.
Not only was Robert a leader to me, but for many other people in the community, he served as something akin to an uncle. I have known Robert all my life to be a considerate and modest individual who has spent his entire life to serving in a variety of leadership roles for our town and the Gwitchin nation. He spent a significant amount of time away from his family in order to secure a better future not only for the children who are present at this event but also for the children who will be born in the future. Robert was a man of his word who upheld the values and vision of the Gwitchin people by living his life in accordance with his principles.
He never hesitated to step up and offer his traditional wisdom at meetings, while also bringing the voices of our previous Elders and leaders into the modern context of the conversation. I am thankful to Robert for the several occasions on which he has imparted his wisdom and experiences gained via his various leadership responsibilities. These have included tales of his childhood spent on the land, his adjustment to contemporary living, and the significance of our various self-government agreements. Robert never lacked the courage to take a stance and voice his opinion on matters that were significant to him.
He also frequently emphasized the significance of maintaining our community’s traditional values and ways of life while cooperating with others and adapting to the changes brought about by contemporary life. We are grateful to you, Robert, for your ability to lead, the direction you provide, the comedy you bring to the table, and for always being the voice that speaks up for the future of our Gwitchin Nation.