Henry 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.