Educator Loretta Gagnon dies at 45
By Murali Balaji
Staff Writer, Native News Online
December 26, 2000
Loretta Gagnon, a longtime education advocate considered one of the
cornerstones of Minnesota's American Indian community, died early
Christmas Day  after an eight-year battle with breast cancer. She
Loretta C. Gagnon
Loretta Gagnon's two volunteer efforts are aimed at improving the lives
of American Indians and bridging the gap between Indian culture and the
In 1993, Loretta helped create the American Indian Cultural Advisory
Committee (AICAC) for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. AICAC
creates opportunities for American Indians to share their rich cultural
history and talents in a mainstream setting. Besides creating the
opportunity, Loretta's work has boosted the confidence of thousands of
American Indians who have since performed on the Ordway stages.
Loretta also is passionate about her work with St. Paul American
Indians in Unity. This organization works to break the cycle of
chemical dependency within the Native American community.
Loretta has been forced to deal with yet another challenge. In 1993,
she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The illness has since spread to
her bones. But despite treatments that are gradually limiting her
physical abilities, Loretta is not about to give up.
"I figure you can choose to live or throw in the towel. I like the work
that I do. I live every day as full as I can."
*Loretta has designated $1100 to St. Paul American Indians in Unity.