In Memoriam: Theodore Fontaine (1941–2021)

Heritage House extends condolences to the family of Theodore Fontaine (1941–2021), a celebrated community leader, speaker, author, and survivor, who died this week at age 79.

Fontaine lived in Winnipeg, was a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, and a regular speaker and media commentator on Residential Schools and other Indigenous issues. He continued to break new ground by supporting other survivors and by seeking reconciliation directly with those who were perpetrators of his abuse.

In 2010, Heritage House published Fontaine’s memoir, Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, which became a bestseller and has been reprinted several times.

“I was last in touch with Ted and his wife Morgan in late March,” said Heritage House publisher Rodger Touchie. “I was told that he had suffered with health issues in November, but he had positive plans for an active future. Morgan mentioned that Ted had surpassed 1,500 speaking and social engagements since Broken Circle was first published more than a decade ago.”

Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools is a powerful memoir documenting the psychological and sexual abuse Fontaine experienced at the Fort Alexander and Assiniboia Indian residential schools in Manitoba from 1948 to 1960, and his painful journey over several decades toward healing and recovery.  The story’s hopeful ending set an inspirational example for generations of First Nations following a similar path.

“It was a true honour to publish his work and support the efforts of both Morgan and Ted Fontaine. His will be a memorable legacy,” said Touchie.