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Honouring Blood and Baha'i Traditions: 
Allison and Earl Healy....

By Pat Verge

Sharing their culture both at home and abroad has become a way of life for the Healys. World travellers, they have taken their traditional culture and spiritual beliefs to such widely-scattered places as Siberia, India, New Zealand, Scandinavia, St. Lucia and Dominica, and Greenland.

Both Healys spent part of their youth in residential schools where use of First Nations languages and practice of cultural heritage were discouraged. For many years. Earl knew little of his native traditions. However, after he decided to quit drinking in 1975, he started to explore his own culture in earnest and began dancing in pow-wows.

"I wanted something to keep my mind moving, not to ever think backwards," says Earl. "Something to be proud of myself." Today a very well-known traditional dancer, Earl is a frequent winner of pow-wow competitions and often has the honour of bringing in the Eagle staff, the Indian flag, during the grand entries.

Their long-time membership in the Baha'i faith has also encouraged the active expression of their cultural heritage, adds Allison.

"Baha'u'llah (founder of the Baha'i faith) in his writings says that it is important to know who we are. So that is why since we became Baha'is I got to be proud of who I am. Before, I was never proud of the culture. Coming from the boarding school, we learned that it wasn't important and were made to be ashamed of it.

"In the Baha'i faith, we believe we should all accept the differences, with unity in diversity."

Earl was born in 1937 on the Blood (Kainai) Reserve and has the Indian name of "Black Crow." His great-grandfather Joe Healy was prominent on the reserve as an interpreter. Whisky traders passing through had found Joe as a baby on an encampment that had been raided by another tribe. They took him home to Fort Benton, Montana and raised him. Healy was the name of his adopted family.
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Reprinted with the permission from Pat Verge and Legacy (Summer 2000): 8-9.
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