Lawrence Barkwell

August 26, 1943 - September 26, 2019

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It is with heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of Lawrence (Lawrie) J. Barkwell after a short but courageous fight against cancer in Winnipeg MB. Lawrie was a father, husband, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague, honorary elder, mentor, and friend. Lawrie was predeceased by his wife Diana (née Weekes) and his parents, Stewart and Betty Barkwell (née Newman). He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his two children, David and Katrina, and his grandson James. Lawrie’s family was his pride and joy.


Born in Peterborough, ON, Lawrie moved to Winnipeg, MB with his brothers Vernon, Bryan, Bruce, Robert, and sister, Janet. Lawrie spent many summers in Lestock, SK working on his grandparents’ farm, where he made many fond memories. He attended Kelvin High School and later went on to the University of Winnipeg to complete a B.A Honours (1975). He received his M.A in Clinical Psychology from Lakehead University (1976). Lawrie and Diana married in 1984 and raised their family in Winnipeg.


Lawrie began his professional life with Manitoba Hydro as a Lineman and Electrical Maintenance Technician (1963-1969). He later worked for the MB Provincial Government as a Probation Officer (1970-1986); in the Department of Justice as an Area Director (1986-1994); and, as a Policy Analyst for the Children and Youth Secretariat and Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, until he was seconded to work for the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) (1997). In the late 1980s, Lawrie met President David Chartrand, who encouraged him to volunteer with the Child, Family, and Justice Committee. This friendship and experience peeked Lawrie’s interest in Métis history and culture. During Lawrie’s secondment, he worked in MMF as a Policy Analyst and later became the Director of the Métis Justice Institute (2003-2006). In 2007, he began his final work at the MMF’s Louis Riel Institute as the Coordinator of Métis Heritage and History Research.


Lawrie was the Métis Nation’s first and only non-Métis person to receive an Honorary Citizenship from the Manitoba Metis Federation—by motion and full vote at the Annual General Assembly in 1991. He received an Honorary Life Citizenship in 2007. He was a member of the St. Norbert Parish – La Barrière Metis Local and was recognized as an Honorary Elder in 2017 by the Local. These honors were bestowed to him in recognition of the significant contributions he made to the preservation and promotion of Métis history and culture. He was a respected expert and author who served the Métis Nation for over thirty years as both a long-term employee and volunteer. He will be remembered for his passion, high-energy, desire to learn, and his ability to meet and connect Métis Citizens across the Métis Nation’s Homeland. He was an accomplished researcher, author, historian, genealogist, lecturer, and beadwork artist, who assisted thousands of community members, bureaucrats, artists, students, and academics alike. A proud author of countless books, articles, and chapters, Lawrie has left the Metis Nation with many timeless gifts.

Friends and relatives are encouraged to share in stories and condolences for the family by commenting in the comments section.


A celebration of life service will be held at 2:00 pm, Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at the Masonic Memorial Centre, located at 420 Corydon Ave.


Donations can be made to a future Bursary fund, which will be made in Lawrie’s honour C/O Louis Riel Institute, 103 -150 Henry Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3B 0J7, Office: 204-586-8474

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