In what has become something of a tradition, University of Lethbridge President Mike Mahon was inducted into the Kainai Chieftainship in July by the Blackfoot Tribe, honouring him as an advocate for the tribe and for all First Nations’ people. Former U of Lethbridge presidents Howard Tennant and Bill Cade were also recognized with Kainai Chieftainships during their terms as president.
It was “a humbling experience,” says Dr. Mahon. “Our university resides on traditional Blackfoot territory and has been given the Blackfoot name Medicine Rock. We have had a longstanding commitment to creating an inclusive university for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.”
Dr. Mahon was bestowed the Blackfoot name Iipisowahsi or Morning Star, meaning son of the sun and the moon. According to the university, joining the Chieftainship is a prestigious honour that symbolizes a partnership between cultures and an acceptance into the Blood Tribe.
U of Lethbridge has a Native American Studies department and degree program. Dr. Mahon recently commissioned a report to further examine initiatives across the campus for Aboriginals in Canada and to develop recommendations on a future strategy.