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Now He's gone.
At this very critical time in our history, we have lost one of our most dedicated leaders.
Chief Albert Bellegarde had been our leader for only five short months but his contribution and involvement goes back for many years.
He was a teacher and he taught on different reserves around the province. His students at Cumberland House, Carry The Kettle will long remember that "Indian Teacher" who knew them and related to them at their level.
Later on he and his family moved to Alberta and he took on several jobs. One job was to manage the farm for Alberta Premier Harry Strom.
Upon his return from Alberta he worked for F.S.I. and became the district rep for the Touchwood - File Hills - Fort Qu'Appelle district Chiefs. After a while the F.S.I. executive negotiated the position of Associate Regional Director and he was the Federations choice.
The position had been created to train an Indian person to eventually take over the directorship of the Saskatchewan region and for a year and a half he trained and developed. However, in 1975 the local government guidelines were developed and it became apparent that there was no place for an Indian in the leadership of that department.
He then moved to the F.S.I. and became the director of the Cultural College. It was here that probably the most lasting effects of his work will be felt. Along with the executive and in particular Sol Sanderson he worked to establish the Community College and the Federated College. His career had come full circle and his frustration and wants as a teacher were fulfilled through the development of our education institution.
In the fall of 1976 the Chiefs honoured the executive and the College director at the official opening of the two new colleges. At that time he received the name "Morning Dancer".
It was only natural that eventually he would move into politics. First he won the third vice president for two years and last fall he ran successfully for Chief.
He ran in a by-election the first time and for every year he served on the executive he had to run for office.
But he will be remembered by us as much more than a political leader. He was a fine person who was well liked by all who worked with him.
No person in the organization considered him unapproachable. He always had the time to spend with the staff, the chiefs, the elders and the membership.
He especially sought the council of the elders and weighed the important decisions on their wisdom.
An Indian leader always travels with his people, and that was his belief.
We extend our condolences to his wife Verna, his sons Eddy, little Albert and daughter Shelley.
He was our Leader and our friend
Now He's gone.