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Father Albert Lacombe: Priest, peacemaker and pioneer

Father Albert Lacombe, a Roman Catholic priest and peacemaker, devoted his life to improving the lives of the Cree and Blackfoot Indians in Western Canada. Part native himself, Father Lacombe's devotion earned him the Indian name "The Man of the Good Heart." As described in this CBC Television excerpt, he was a hardworking and humble man, who was greatly admired by those who knew him.

As the church's representative in the prairies, Father Lacombe played an integral part in influencing government policy and in the settlement of Western Canada. 
• Father Albert Lacombe was born on Feb. 28, 1827, in Saint-Sulpice, Lower Canada (now Quebec), and died in Midnapore near Calgary on Dec. 12, 1916. His body is buried in the crypt of the Saint-Albert parish church.

• In 1880 Father Lacombe became the first parish priest in Calgary.

• In 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway came into conflict with the Blackfoot Indians, who threatened to block the route across their reserve. It was Father Lacombe who intervened and negotiated a peaceful resolution.

• Father Lacombe also convinced Crowfoot, the leader of the Blackfoot tribe, to stay out of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. The Northwest Rebellion was the unsuccessful attempt by the Métis to establish their own sovereign nation.

• Father Lacombe wrote a Cree grammar and dictionary.

Medium: Television
Program: Heritage
Broadcast Date: April 23, 1967
Host: Alex Moir
Duration: 6:30

Last updated: March 29, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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