Manitoba Historical Society
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Joseph Irvine “Joe” Keeper

Community activist.

Born at Norway House in October 1928, son of Christina McLeod and Joseph Benjamin Keeper, he graduated from Portage Collegiate in 1946. After serving for 14 months in the Korean War, until 1957, he worked as a surveyor for Canadian Nickel, a subsidiary of INCO. In the early 1960s, he began working as a community development worker in Indigenous communities, and later for the Northern Flood Committee. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Metis Federation, serving as its Executive Director, and the National Indian Council. He was married twice, first to Rachel Budd with whom he had six children. On 1 September 1959, he married Phyllis Beardy at Winnipeg and they had four children. In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Order of Canada (1993) and he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).

Sources:

Obituary [Phyllis Keeper], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 May 2014.

Lorne C. Keeper, Portraits of the North, Facebook.

Joseph Irvine Keeper by Lawrence Barkwell, Louis Riel Institute.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 July 2020

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