Champion dancer and role model for aboriginal youth passes away

A champion pow-wow dancer, respected role-model for youth, and eager promoter of the Bahá’í Faith died last week. Earl Healy, a prominent member of the Blood Tribe in Alberta, passed away on 21 November 2006 at the age of 69.

One of Earl Healy’s most dedicated activities was sharing his understanding of the Bahá’í Faith with fellow aboriginals around the world and discussing the religion’s affinity to aboriginal spirituality.

Often accompanied by his wife, Allison, Healy travelled to such places as India, New Zealand, Siberia, and St. Lucia, meeting with members of various aboriginal groups and promoting the message of the oneness of the earth’s peoples.

Healy was born in 1937 on Blood Reserve, a territory in southern Alberta, bordering the United States. His Indian name is “Black Crow.” He got the name ‘Healy’ from his great-grandfather, who was adopted into a Montana family as a baby after having been abandoned on an encampment that had been raided by another tribe.

Healy became a Bahá’í in 1976. In addition to his international travel, he made frequent trips to reserves within Canada, discussing the importance of cultural diversity and unity among people and working particularly with aboriginal youth to instill a sense of pride and self-worth.

Dancing was another of Healy’s strengths. He was a frequent winner of pow-wow competitions and often had the honour of bringing in the Eagle staff during Grand Entries at pow-wows. In 1992, he travelled to New York for the Bahá’í World Congress, where he marched in a parade of nations in his traditional buckskin outfit.

This past August, the neighbouring Siksika tribe held a special dance to honour Healy for his contributions and achievements in the aboriginal community.

Healy is survived by six children, fourteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Read more about the Healys on the Alberta Online Encyclopedia.

Click here for a previous story on this website about the Healys’ participation in the Calgary Stampede.