Remembering a ‘tremendous ally,’ Eva Sock’s family and friends reflect on her loss


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Remembering a ‘tremendous ally,’ Eva Sock’s family and friends reflect on her loss's Profile

The loss of a lifelong advocate for two-spirit and Indigenous people in the Atlantic is being felt.

Eva Sock of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick was 74 when she died from complications of liver cancer on Jan. 28.

“We lost a tremendous ally and I’m sure gonna miss Eva,” said Tuma Young, co-founder of the Wabanaki Two Spirit Alliance.

Two-spirit is a modern term used by some Indigenous people to identify the diversity of gender and sexuality within their cultures.

Young worked with Sock in the early ’90s to establish HIV/AIDS awareness programming in Mi’kmaw communities.

Sock worked tirelessly to create culturally safe spaces for two-spirit youth, Young said, because she cared deeply about their health and safety.

Sock, fluent in Mi’kmaw, always tried to ensure she used inclusive language, Young said.

He said Sock also worked to maintain the stories of two-spirit people in her home community. She would find the history of two-spirit people in the area and tell their stories, Young said.

Young said he remembers she also worked to revive a forgiveness ceremony, called apiksituaqn, where people in Elsipogtog would go to resolve their disputes. He said Sock thought people were more than their actions and by reintroducing the ceremony she was helping to restore balance.

“That’s what I saw in Eva, a mini library,” said Young.

“She was a fountain of knowledge and a safe space for young two-spirit people.”

Always trying to help others

Her son Derek Sock said his mother touched a lot of lives because she was always trying to help others.

“She always thought about people before herself,” said Derek, 53.

“That’s why she was a beautiful woman.”

He said his mother worked over 50 years in public service as a band manager, primary health manager and served on committees to hold the RCMP accountable for its treatment of Indigenous people.

“She bumped heads with so many police commissioners throughout her time, and then she still came out on top,” he said.

He said she outlasted 22 police commanders and a day before she died the current RCMP commander presented her with a thank-you note.

He said his mother worked alongside the late chief Albert Levi to find more job opportunities and build more infrastructure for the community. He said she was proud of how far her community had come.

An Indigenous family, the two men are in black suits with ties and the woman is in a red dress.
Eva Sock with her late son Craig ‘Jumbo’ Sock, left, and late husband Harry Sock. (submitted by Derek Sock )

He said his mother carried a lot of strength, too. In April 2021 his brother Craig “Jumbo” Sock died when his fishing vessel capsized. That December his father Harry Sock, Eva’s husband of more than 50 years, also died.

“Going through all this stuff and that’s very hard, you know, but I’m glad that my mom was there,” he said.

“She made life a little bit easier for me.”

She was most proud of being a grandmother, he said. She leaves behind two sons, 24 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He said his mother considered children medicine, and loved when they were around.

His fondest memory of his mother was the love she and his father shared. They loved dancing, and he said watching them dance at their 50th anniversary will always stick with him.

“It was the true embodiment of love,” he said.

“They always danced everywhere they went … and I’m glad I got to witness that.”

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