Quite the honour for the PM to receive.
STANDOFF, ALTA.—Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been given a ceremonial title shared by the likes of Prince Charles and Pope John Paul II — honorary chief of the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta.
“I am deeply grateful for the honour you have bestowed upon me today. It is an experience I will never forget,” the newest member of the Kainai Chieftainship said Monday, a headdress of eagle feathers perched on his head and paint smeared on his face.
The Prime Minister and his wife, Laureen, slowly shuffled along the grassy perimeter of an outdoor amphitheatre as tribe members pounded on drums and sang songs. Dancers in bright, fringed clothing twirled and jumped behind the procession.
A key part of the chieftainship ceremony is the “capturing” of the chief-to-be.
“Only warriors get the honour to do it,” said Master Cpl. Melissa Whitegrass, who was chosen to capture the Prime Minister.
Whitegrass was badly wounded by a bomb in Kabul on May 18, 2010. Six NATO soldiers and 18 Afghan civilians were killed. A year to the day later, Whitegrass gave birth to her daughter, Dawni-Rae.
“That’s why the creator brought me home and I wish all the people of the Blood Tribe the same luck, the same creator’s grace, and I wish the best for you, Mr. Harper,” she said.