Francis First Charger of the Kainai
Francis First Charger was born and raised on the Kainai First Nation (Blood Indian Reserve). He was raised in the traditional, cultural and spiritual ways of the Blackfoot people. Francis First Charger Ninnaisipistoo “Owl Chief” (Agricultural Technology, ‘82) has received the top award of Distinguished Alumnus. First Charger is recognized as a Blackfoot elder according to traditional Blackfoot protocol and is the owner and manager of his own consultancy group. First Charger is known for his work with youth, students and the Blood Tribe community and is frequently called on as a guest speaker on the topics of education, the environment and cultural relevance locally, regionally and throughout North America. His community contributions range from work on affordable housing initiatives with the city of Lethbridge to the successfully coordination of the “First Nations’ Land Use Certificate Program” with 12 graduates from Red Crow Community College to the successful oversight of the construction phase of the $66.5 million Blood Tribe irrigation project between 1990 and 2000. His work teaching community members about learning opportunities, cultural awareness and traditions of the Blackfoot people “has promoted the wealth of diversity within the community and promotes natural heritage of the region.” He has been praised by many for his wisdom, teaching and advice to build a welcoming and inclusive community.