Haligonians mourn Neskie Manuel

Activist made a big difference in his short stay in Halifax

Known to many in the cycling, radio and activist communities in Halifax, one-time Haligonian Neskie Manuel disappeared on a camping trip on May 8 on the Neskonlith First Nation in BC, near Kamloops. Manuel lived in Halifax in 2007 and 2008 and was involved with developing aboriginal programming for CKDU, helping to develop the Dalhousie Campus Bike Centre (a drop-in bike repair and education centre for students and the community) and Halifax Critical Mass.

Manuel was last seen around a campfire and appeared to have vanished without a trace. After the official search for him ended, his family initiated their own search, aided physically and financially by friends and community, including many who’d known Neskie in Halifax. Manuel’s remains were found on June 29, which would have been his 31st birthday, along the South Thompson River, down from the mountain where he went missing. His father Arthur Manuel says autopsies have been inconclusive so far, but expects further results within a few weeks.

Manuel had served as a band councillor for the Neskonlith First Nation for the last couple years, says his father, a former band chief. Manuel was also the founder of a band radio station which he had been running for the past three years---no surprise to anyone who knew him through his CKDU involvement---“one of his great contributions to the community,” says his father, who hopes others will keep the station going. Arthur Manuel says that Neskie’s memorial in BC was packed, “standing room only,” and was impressed by the turnout, especially of the number of young people whose lives Neskie had touched.

Manuel made “a big impact in his short Halifax stint,” says Emma Feltes, a Haligonian and friend of Manuel. “I am really amazed by the contribution he was able to make in such a short time, the impacts of which still reverberate throughout the radio, social justice and cycling communities, and city in general.”

Feltes joined the family on their search in BC. “If anything, the most positive thing I learned out of the 53-day search for Neskie is the incredible impact he made on such a widespread and diverse community of people---from BC to Halifax and beyond,” she says.

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