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Friday, July 13, 2012

Piikani Nation bestows honorary Chieftancy on Minister John Duncan


Chief White Buffalo
C. Davis photo

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development John Duncan was named an honorary honorary member of the Piikani Chieftainship by the Piikani Nation during an elaborate ceremony held at the new Piikani Nation arbour on Wednesday afternoon, July 11.  Minister Duncan was given a full eagle feather ceremonial head-dress and a Blackfoot name, "White Buffalo".

Piikani Councillor Fabian North Peigan acted as MC for the event.

"This is a very important and significant date," said North Peigan, referring to the dignitaries in attendance, which included  Blackfoot Elders, Macleod MP and Federal Finance Minister Ted Menzies, Alberta Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Robin Campbell, Treaty 7 Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead, Regional Chief George Stanley, the present Piikani Council, former Piikani Chief Leonard Bastien, and Alexander First Nations representative George Marcand.


Chief Gayle Strikes With A Gun
C. Davis photo
"On behalf of Piikani Nation. we are honored to share this day with you," said Chief Gayle Strikes With A Gun.  "Today is a historic day for the Piikani Nation, as we renew the historic Crown relationship," she continued. "In Blackfoot custom, the process of granting an honorary Cheiftanship...is a process that instills trust, responsibility, and honor between the two parties involved."

“This gesture is a first step in addressing our collective struggles to re-establishing the self-determination of First Nations in this country. It gives Piikani a new hope in forging a new relationship with Canada. As a sign of a new relationship being formed, our elders feel it only appropriate that we bestow upon the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development an honorary membership with the Piikani Nation."

“We were thoroughly impressed with the Federal Government’s recent display of interest in addressing First Nation issues at the Crown–First Nations Gathering,” she said.

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development
John "White Buffalo" Duncan
C. Davis photo 
It fell to Piikani Elder and former Chief Leonard Bastien to perform the naming ceremony.

“It’s an honour to be given this prestigious title from the Piikani Nation and I’m proud to carry my new Blackfoot name,” said Minister Duncan. “This gesture acknowledges our government’s recognition of the rich culture and heritage of First Nations and their contribution to Canada, and our investments in the future of Aboriginal peoples across our country.”

Minister Duncan also toured the Piikani Nation during his visit and dined in the arbour after the ceremony. He said it was his first visit to the community.



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