Dr. Herb Belcourt not only builds homes, he has helped build lives. Combining entrepreneurial expertise and generosity, Dr. Belcourt has worked steadfastly to ensure Aboriginal Albertans have access to suitable housing and education.
The eldest of ten siblings raised west of Edmonton, Dr. Belcourt, influenced by his father, showed a strong entrepreneurial spirit. After working in logging, coal mining and powerline construction as a teenager, he started his own upholstery business and went on to successfully develop several businesses into the 1980s, including Belcourt Construction, which became the third largest powerline company in Alberta.
In 1970, Dr. Belcourt, initiated a housing project, which led to the incorporation of Canative Housing Corporation designed to provide decent, affordable housing for Métis families moving into Edmonton and Calgary. The success of this housing initiative was enhanced by its Urban Skills program that taught tenants Parenting, Home-making, Health and Budgeting skills and provided Day Care.
In 2002, through Canative Housing, Dr. Belcourt and his colleagues established the Belcourt Brosseau Metis Awards, donating $13,000,000 for further education for Metis people, the interest used for bursaries and scholarships, and also donated a residents’ house for Métis postgraduate students at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Belcourt’s incredible contributions to the community have garnered countless awards, including the 1977 Queen’s Silver Medal for Community Service, the 1996 Alberta Aboriginal Role Model Award, the 2003 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the 2005 Alberta Centennial Award. In November, 2005, Norquest College, Edmonton named its auditorium: Dr.Herb Belcourt.
Now in his 70s, Dr. Belcourt continues to serve his community. He is on the board of Alberta Native Counselling Services, a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee for Child, Family & Community Research in Alberta, and an Aboriginal Advisor to the Commanding Officer at “K” Division for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.