Wrestler, politician, activist Billy Two Rivers dies at age 87

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/02/13/wrestler-politician-activist-billy-two-rivers-dies-at-age-87/

Wrestler, politician, and activist Billy Two Rivers, has died at the age of 87.

The news of his passing began to circulate Monday after he passed on Sunday and had been in poor health for some time.

Born May 5, 1935, in Kahnawà:ke (just outside of Montreal, Quebec), Two Rivers became an ally and representative of the Mohawk territory throughout his life.

After playing lacrosse at a young age, was taken under the wing of pro wrestler Don Eagle, who trained the younger Two Rivers ahead of his February 1953 debut in Detroit.

Eagle and Two Rivers became a tag team throughout the mid to late ‘50s with Two Rivers finding success across the U.S. including stays in Florida and the Carolinas among the territories he stopped in.

The story goes that Two Rivers was deciding where to go next, and flipped a coin between Calgary and England, with the European option coming out as the destination. Two Rivers became a star in the country as he arrived during the infancy of World of Sport on ITV and exposed himself to the mass audience during a heightened era of pro wrestling’s popularity.

Two Rivers worked in England from 1959 until 1965 before going to work for the Vachon brothers in Grand Prix in Montreal where he teamed with Johnny War Eagle.

After a return to England and Germany, his career winded down back in Montreal and ended his career after nearly twenty-five years.

The next chapter for Two Rivers came in public office where he was elected to the Kahnawà:ke council in 1978 and would serve ten terms through 1998 as its chief in council.

Among his achievements was a role played in the Oka crisis of 1990, which the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke remarked:

He was hugely influential, acting as Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton’s right-hand man during the so-called Oka Crisis, the most difficult time in Kahnawà:ke’s recent history. He was both colorful and outspoken, never afraid to challenge government officials or correct Kahnawà:ke’s opponents on their misinterpretations of the community’s position or its place in history.

After he failed to be re-elected, he served as a political and policy advisor and worked with the Assembly of First Nations.

Two Rivers also ventured into film and television roles including the Black Robe in 1991, Tales of the Wild in 1994, and appeared on an episode of Mohawk Girls in 2015.

In 2017, Van Morrison and Two Rivers reached an out-of-court settlement after the release of the ‘Rolling with the Punches’ album that featured Two Rivers on the cover without his permission.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke reported the news of his death at the age of 87 with Two Rivers survived by his wife Pauline Two Rivers, three daughters, 12 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Additional reading:
-Wrestler, council chief, and Mohawk activist Billy Two Rivers had died at 87 (CTV News Montreal)
-The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons (Greg Oliver & Steven Johnson)
-Mad Dogs, Midgets, and Screwjobs (Pat Laprade & Bertrand Hebert)