John Callihoo

John Callihoo, politician, Indigenous-rights leader (born on Michel First Nation, Alberta 1882; died in St Albert, Alberta 11 Aug 1957). Of Haudenosaunee-Cree descent and self-educated, he was a freighter and then a farmer, but his leadership capabilities soon made him a rallying point for Indigenous causes. During the early 1930s he assisted non status (see Indian) relatives in forming a Métis association and in successfully urging the Alberta government to pass the Métis Betterment Act. In 1937 he became president of the League of Alberta Indians and soon gained the nickname of "The Lawyer" from frustrated Indian Department officials with whom he was often in conflict. In 1939 he reorganized his group as the Indian Association of Alberta and saw it expand to become a successful province-wide organization. While president he was a delegate to Ottawa and helped to bring about changes in the Indian Act and in provincial legislation affecting Indigenous people. He retired in 1947 but saw the association carry on as one of the most effective Indigenous political bodies in Canada.