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The Tsuu T'ina Nation Profiles - Chief Big Belly

Chief Big Belly

Chief Big Belly succeeded Chief Bull Head in 1913, and he served as the Tsuu T’ina chief until 1920. Chief Big Belly was a popular and wise Chief. Due to Big Belly’s involvement the Tsuu T’ina participated in the Victory Parade in 1912, which was the inauguration of the Calgary Stampede.

Big Belly’s tenure was a difficult one, however. Like Bull Head, Chief Big Belly fought hard to prevent the federal agencies and the Mayor of Calgary from acquiring the Tsuu T’ina Peoples’ land. In 1913 their territory was surrendered and was subsequently used for a military base outside of Calgary.  Big Belly also witnessed his people succumb to assimilation and adopt the farming and ranching lifestyle.

Yet despite the changes experienced by the Tsuu T’ina, Chief Big Belly continued to promote traditional Native values. He was known as a “strong and feared campaigner” of the customary Native lifestyle, for example he continued to practice ceremonial rites such as Sun Dances.

Chief Big Belly passed away in 1920 and was succeeded by Chief Joe Big Plume.

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