Although Eagle is from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, Canada, he grew up mostly in Edmonton. Here is the story about Eagle Child’s family.
Although his mother had the highest grades in Alberta in her graduating year, the province sabotaged her grades with eraser and ink. In fact, in a personal letter signed by the premier, the province of Alberta refused to finance her university education to become a teacher saying that the new society did not have room for Indians and farmers! So she moved to Edmonton and got her teacher’s certificate. She married and started a family. Edmonton became their home where Eagle was actively involved in sports from a young age.
Eagle’s mother was a successful elementary educator in Edmonton. Like their mother both Eagle and his sister also pursued a career in education. Having gotten her doctorate in education, his sister, Dr. Phyllis Cardinal, created the first Native high school (off reserve land) in North America in 2000. Today amiskwaciy Academy continues a traditional setting for holistic learning with academic standards; the program also provides a valued connection to community. Eagle was very proud of his sister when he played his native flute at the grand opening in 2002. Her family has continued the legacy of Eagle’s mother through various involvements in education.
Eagle’s brother, Robert, excelled at music. His reputation allowed him to play for Buffy Sainte-Marie when her bass guitarist was unable to attend a show in Saskatchewan. He also played with (Canada’s) Tom Jackson. Eagle’s father was, as Senator Thelma Chalifoux said in his eulogy, “a jack of all trades and a master of none.” Yet he successfully administered the native program at the Bowden Institution (a prison in Alberta) and later became a liaison between native people and the court system. Again the family continues to provide needed assistance for native people within the judicatory structure.
I am very proud of my husband and his family. Regardless of their endeavors each one of them has had to endure society’s subtle (and obvious) prejudices. Such accomplishments – inside and outside the native communities – speak loudly against the stereotypes society and governments have created against them. This is Eagle Child’s family.
Previous post of interest: Wolf
Eagle Child Music and Teachings
Wolf is teacher, family, and loyalty. Wolf medicine teaches us to be a part of society while manifesting our individual dreams. (Jamie Sams)
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by Myrna Child.
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