Lethbridge College is pleased to announce that Betty Ann Little Wolf (Anatsi’piiksaakii – Pretty Bird) will be the 21st honorary degree recipient in the institution’s history. Little Wolf will receive an Honorary Baccalaureate Degree as part of the college’s Spring 2022 Convocation ceremonies.
Little Wolf is a Knowledge Keeper and Spiritual Elder in the Blackfoot community who has been a member of Lethbridge College’s Indigenous Services Cultural Support Program since January 2019. As a dedicated Blackfoot Grandmother (Kaa’ahsinnoon) to the college community, Little Wolf provides students and employees with traditional knowledge, guidance and support.
“Betty Ann has been a true leader, supporter and friend to not only Lethbridge College, but to countless organizations, communities and people who call Blackfoot territory their home,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “Betty Ann’s story is inspirational as a survivor, an educator, a mother, a leader and a Kaa’ahsinnoon to our community. Her warmth and care for those around her is unending and our college is enriched because of the support she gives us all.”
Little Wolf currently sits on Lethbridge College’s President’s Indigenous Advisory Council and Reconciliation Committee, and she was instrumental in the creation and launch of Coming Together in a Holistic Way: Lethbridge College Niitsitapi Strategy. She is described as an embodiment of the values and mission of Lethbridge College who brings a richness of knowledge and compassion to the institution while being a true champion of education.
“Betty Ann is such an important piece in our cultural support program,” says Lowell Yellowhorn, Lethbridge College Indigenous Services manager. “She’s approachable, down to earth, humble and has a genuine nature about her that is so welcoming. Our Elders, like Betty-Ann, are experts in life and they are dedicated to helping our students achieve success.”
Born and raised in the Piikani First Nation, Little Wolf was taken to a residential school when she was six years old. After 10 years in the residential school system, she enrolled in public school, but an evaluation revealed her education was only equivalent to Grade 3. Understanding the importance of education, Little Wolf’s father had her tutored within the public school system, as a mature learner, and she ultimately graduated from high school. In her adult years, Little Wolf and her husband Maurice operated a children’s group home for Piikani children needing care through fostering. Through this experience, they adopted a baby girl, Hadiga. A Lethbridge College alum of the Criminal Justice program, Hadiga Little Wolf is now an A/Sgt. in the Blood Tribe Police Service.
Betty Ann Little Wolf later served as a Native Liaison Counselor at F.P. Walsh High School in Fort Macleod, Alberta – organizing and facilitating Family Group Conferencing Sessions and weekly “Healing the Child Within” sessions for students in Grades 10 to 12. She retired after 21 years with the Livingstone Range School Division.
She is also a member of the Buffalo Women’s Society – a sacred society in Siksikaitsitapi where members respect all, and practice their customs, traditions, beliefs and spiritual values. She believes Blackfoot culture is key in fostering a connection to identity. Little Wolf sits on the National Elders Council of Canada within the Assembly of First Nations and is one of eighteen Knowledge Keepers for the National Council of Elders and Knowledge Keepers for the Turtle Lodge Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Education and Wellness.
“I am very honoured to be receiving this recognition from Lethbridge College,” says Little Wolf. “I’ve dedicated my life to helping young people, and much of my own healing has come from them. Lethbridge College takes its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation seriously and approaches it the right way – by following a path created by the Indigenous community. I enjoy being part of these conversations and am proud of the work we have done.”
Little Wolf will be recognized the evening before Convocation at the college’s annual Honouring Excellence event. She will be joined by this year’s alumni award recipients Chris Delisle, Kathryn Iwaasa, Tara Grindle and Alexandra Carnio on Thursday, May 26, in the Garden Court restaurant. Tickets are available for purchase.
Little Wolf will be more formally recognized with a hooding ceremony during the first of two Spring 2022 Convocation ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 27 in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium. The event will also be livestreamed.
Lethbridge College Honorary Degrees are presented to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to education or who demonstrate a commitment to values aligned with the college. Any person who is not a full-time college employee may be nominated.