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Former Chief of the Siksika First Nation Roy Little Chief has died at 81

Roy Little Chief, former Chief of the Siksika First Nation, died at the age of 81 on June 11, 2020.
Roy Little Chief, former Chief of the Siksika First Nation, died at the age of 81 on June 11, 2020. Supplied

Well-known Indigenous rights advocate and former Chief of the Siksika First Nation Roy Little Chief died last Thursday at the age of 81.

He leaves behind his wife, Linda Little Chief, six children, numerous grandchildren and a great granddaughter. 

Little Chief’s advocacy for Indigenous rights and causes spans more than 50 years. In 2002, he received the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal for his efforts advancing the status of First Nations communities across the country. 

He was Chief of the Siksika First Nation between 1981 and 1983. His grandfather, Eagle Rib, signed Treaty 7 in the late 19th century.

READ MORE: ‘Preparedness over panic’: Siksika First Nation launches mobile COVID-19 response unit, Blackfoot hotline

Born on August 26, 1938, he attended residential schools. He began working with the Indian Association of Alberta in the late 1960s, moving on to become the Southern Director of the American Indian Movement in Alberta in the early 1970s, according to a news release by Siksika Nation.

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“He was a central figure in the awakening of First Nations political activity, Indigenous spirituality and cultural expression,” the release says.

Little Chief was involved in efforts that resulted in reparations for survivors of residential schools as well as the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

READ MORE: Canada’s aboriginal residential school system was ‘cultural genocide,’ report says

He also spoke up against racism in law enforcement. He held numerous positions of leadership over the past 20 years, including as Chair of the Siksika Police Commission.

Little Chief passed away at a hospital in Calgary.

A memorial service for him is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at The Gordon Yellow Fly Memorial Arbour on the Siksika Reserve.