Joe Crowshoe

Joe and Josephine Crowshoe are the last surviving ceremonial Elders of the Peigan Nation. Together, they have kept alive the ancient traditions of the Peigan people through years of repression, and united Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people through cross-cultural exchanges. Born in southwestern Alberta in the early 1900’s, Mr. Crowshoe was raised in the traditional Peigan culture and was entrusted with the Short Thunder Medicine Bundle. He taught and practiced the Peigan ceremonies underground because of Canada’s attempt to ban Aboriginal religious activities. Against this, he preserved the sun dance and later, got an important sun dance bundle back from a museum. Mr. Crowshoe was instrumental in ensuring that Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump would be developed into an interpretive centre, which was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mr. Crowshoe edited the Blackfoot Dictionary that was published through the University of Lethbridge. He served as an advisor to several archeological expeditions, cultural events and museums. He was a spiritual guide to the Bowden and Drumheller provincial correctional institutions, and a member of the Elders Advisory of Sun Dance in Little Eagle, South Dakota. He is the last remaining Lifetime Councillor for the Peigan Nation. Mr. Crowshoe has also received an Alberta Achievement Award, a Citation of Citizenship, an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Montana, an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Calgary. He became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991.