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In Their Own Voices

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Ralph SteinhauerHenry Bird Steinhauer was the first Protestant minister of Aboriginal descent in the West. Brought up primarily in white circles and thoroughly schooled in the Western canon, he became, in his later years, increasingly burdened by the existing tension between cultures. 

Perhaps striving toward a resolution of this tension, Henry Steinhauer established at Whitefish Lake the first mission to be operated solely by First Nations leadership. Additionally, his translation of hymns and bible chapters into Cree was an important contribution that remains in use today. Steinhauer was an intellectual, at home in many languages and cultures and was both a model and an inspiration for the people in his community.

Two sons, Egerton and Robert, would follow in their father's footsteps, becoming ordained Methodist ministers. His grandson, Ralph, would go on to be the first Aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. The role that Henry played as patriarch of his family, and the successes that his descendants achieved are part of this great man's legacy. His influence over Whitefish Lake is still present generations later and testifies to his important role in the history of Methodism in Alberta.


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