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Date of Passing: Feb 09, 2021

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Ernesta Rivais passed away with her children by her side on February 9, 2021.
As a teacher, principal, then Director of Education, Ernesta devoted her entire career to working in the North. She left with an unwavering belief in education and the critical role it plays in the lives of all children, fighting for the rights of students and their communities, for teachers and administrators, to improve education opportunities among First Nations.
While she possessed no great love of the cold, Ernesta enjoyed the North and though "retired", fondly mused about returning to a teaching role with every passing schoolyard. She also believed in language as a foundation of culture and possessed a fondness for Cree, borrowing a word here and there for use in everyday life, much to the embarrassment of her sons.

She will be missed.

Family and friends may sign a
book of condolence online at

Desjardins Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 20, 2021

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • Ernesta was my mentor, my advocate, advisor and a mother figure. Her passion was helping others and she did this through education. She gave many years of her time and energy to helping First Nation Schools improve and grow. Her laughter was infectious, her knowledge vast and a heart full of love. The hard work she did thought out the years will continue to flourish in the tiny communities that were blessed with her presence. I am truly saddened and words fail to express all the wonderful memories I have. Our deepest condolences to her son’s and the love ones left behind from the Tays family, students and staff of NCN where she was a Director for a number of years. - Posted by: Natalie Tays (Friend) on: Oct 20, 2021

  • She was my best friend. She was thoughtful and generous to me. Her boys were so thoughtful to her. I will miss her greatly. - Posted by: Eva Vanscoy (Friend) on: Mar 01, 2021

  • I had the good fortune of working with Ernesta in Island Lake. She blazed a trail for female administrators. I also recall getting a phone call from her one identification just “Kathie there’s no trees.” She was calling from Baker Lake. Her commitment to the native education was amazing. Condolences to the family from my husband, Peter, and myself. - Posted by: Kathie Little (Colleague) on: Feb 21, 2021

  • Sincere condolence to the family. - Posted by: Richard RISBEY (former co worker from our years in nothern Manitoba) on: Feb 20, 2021

Desjardins Funeral Home

Desjardins Funeral Home

357 Des Meurons St. (Map)
Ph: 2042334949 | Visit Website

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