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Winnipeg graf artist dies saving friend [Article]

Darryle Caribou dies saving friend

Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, July 9th 2009

Winnipeg, MBDarryle Caribou didn’t hesitate to jump into the raging Red River to try to save a friend last Friday afternoon. Three days later, his body washed ashore.

On Wednesday, police identified Caribou, 26, as the man who went missing Friday afternoon. They had recovered his body Monday afternoon near the Provencher Bridge.

Caribou was an aboriginal artist, well-known in the Point Douglas community.

Stephen Wilson, executive director of Graffiti Art Programming, described Caribou as a “hard-working and giving soul.”

“He was very passionate about working with children and youth,” said Wilson, a friend of Caribou’s for the past five years.

Wilson said Caribou first came to his gallery five years ago as an artist with a lot of skill and a strong desire to learn. He quickly became a frequent visitor to the gallery, where he began teaching and painting murals with inner-city kids.

Caribou was determined to make a career out of creating and teaching art — a priority that motivated him to get up every day, Wilson said.

“He was energized to teach art classes,” Wilson said. “He wanted to be a role model to aboriginal children and young people. He will be impossible to replace and his passing leaves a huge void in the daily lives of all these children.”

Wilson said he will remember his friend most for being a simple man.

“He never had much for material wealth — he was happy earning just enough to get by. He had a rich life by helping others.”

Caribou drowned after jumping into the Red River July 3 to try to save a friend, Const. Jason Michalyshen said Wednesday.

Caribou’s 30-year-old friend had jumped into the river near the Norwood Bridge to cool off and quickly struggled with the strong current. The man was able to pull himself to safety. Caribou, however, wasn’t so lucky.

The Winnipeg Police River Patrol Unit and the Winnipeg Fire Department Water Rescue scoured the river for Caribou up to Chief Peguis Trail, before calling off the search because of dangerous debris in the river.

On Monday, Wilson and a group of friends went in search of Caribou, to spots he’d been known to frequent around the river. Hearts sank when they came across water rescue crews investigating a report of a body washing up on shore.

The gallery will hold a memorial service for Caribou July 15 at 109 Higgins Ave.

Written by Matt Preprost for the Winnipeg Free Press
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