|Police investigate Saturday behind a restaurant in downtown Midland following the beating death of a local native leader on Friday night. GISELE WINTON SARVIS/QMI AGENCY
MIDLAND, Ont. – Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre president Andrew Mixemong died after a brutally beaten Friday night at the rear of a downtown restaurant when he went to the aid of his wife, who was being harassed by two men.
Two men have been arrested by the Midland police and charges are pending. Their names have not been released.
According to relatives, Mixemong, 59, was on his way to meet his wife, Lorraine, an employee of Dino’s deli, when he saw two men harassing her. The men had reportedly asked for food and, when told the restaurant was closed, became angry and one of them allegedly punched her.
Mixemong went to her aid and the pair attacked him. He later died in Georgian Bay General Hospital.
An autopsy was to be performed Sunday in Toronto.
Known by many as a “sweet, gentle man,” Mixemong was a first-degree Three Fires Midewiwin.
His brother, Wayne, said he was a spiritual man who followed traditional ways.
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” Wayne said.
He left Christian Island, Ont., near Midland, and moved to the mainland in the 1970s.
For a while he and his wife lived with John Raynor, an avocational archaeologist and local historian, who described him as “a gift to the community.”
A ceremony to lift his spirit was held Sunday in a parking lot near where he was attacked. Earlier in the day, a sacred fire had been lit at the former home of his parents on Christian Island to call his spirit home.
During the Midland ceremony, a small strand of white cloud that emitted a range of bright colours drifted across the sky, a phenomena that amazed those attending the ceremony and police officers at the crime scene.
A traditional service will be held on Christian Island.
Mixemong is survived by his wife, four sisters and five brothers.
Midland police and the Ontario Provincial Police criminal investigation branch are currently conducting a joint investigation into the death.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Midland Police at 705-526-2201 or Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477).