Joe Crowshoe

Joseph Crowshoe is a respected traditional spiritual leader in his community in southern Alberta. He maintains cultural practices such as passing down legends and stories, using sweet grass in smudge, and using the ceremonial pipe. He was presented with the Order of Canada in 1991 and received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1989 for his work in preserving their culture and their commitment to bridging the gap of understanding between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of Alberta. He was also recipients of an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Calgary, as well as an honorary doctorate of humanities from the University of Montana. Mr. Crowshoe was a member of the official welcoming committee at the 1991 Royal Visit, and has a Citation of Citizenship from the Government of Canada. He was a lifetime councilor at the Peigan Nation.

Joseph Crowshoe served as an advisor on establishing Native American studies programs at both the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge. In addition to his work with post-secondary institutions, Crowshoe worked for twenty years as a cultural and spiritual advisor for the public education system on the Peigan reserve. He was also instrumental in developing the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretative Centre into a UNESCO world heritage site, provided editing assistance on the first Blackfoot language dictionary, and served in several provincial correctional institutions as a spiritual guide for Aboriginal inmates.

Weasel Tail: Stories told by Joe Crowshoe Sr. (Aapohsoy yiis), a Peigan Blackfoot Elder
Format: Paperback

The generation to which Joe and Josephine Crowshoe belonged spanned more than the length of their lifetimes. That generation fought heroically in world wars and at the same time raised children under a paternalistic federal regime that denied both a culture and a heritage. The Crowshoes regained their heritage and shared it with the larger community, gaining respect from all the people with whom they were in contact and becoming articulate representatives and the holders of stories, legends, and customs. The interviews in Weasel Tail track not just their personal stories but the stories of a people who insisted on being recognized and a culture born out of the land of southern Alberta. Paralleling the interviews, Mike Ross has included historical photographs and documentation of a world and people who are a rich part of Alberta’s history.

Suggested Grades: 9-12

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text


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