Lethbridge College alumnus and college Métis Elder Rod McLeod received a special honour at October’s FNMI Awareness Days: a Blackfoot name.

Blackfoot Elders Francis First Charger and Bruce Wolf Child gave the Blackfoot name of Iistakata, which means “Dependable One,” to McLeod at the second of the three day celebration at the college.

“Giving a Blackfoot name to someone who is not a Blackfoot person is both an honour and a responsibility,” says Robin Little Bear, Manager of FNMI Education Services. “It’s given to someone who has made an important contribution to the community, and to someone who is committed and responsible for carrying that name, and continuing to support the community.”

McLeod came to the college at the age of 66 in the Child and Youth Care program. He received his diploma in 2003 and was soon employed by Family Ties Association. He also attended night school at the college and received his diploma in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder in 2006 at the age of 70. He received the college’s Community Leader Award in 2012 in recognition of his success in collaborative projects, his motivation, dedication, leadership and initiative, and his work for and with Alberta youth.

He is one of Lethbridge College’s three Elders helping students from all backgrounds make the adjustment to college life.