Gov. Gen. David Johnston is visiting flood-ravaged communities in Alberta this week and made a special journey to the Siksika First Nation.
Flooding in June displaced more than 1,000 residents on the reserve east of Calgary.
Band leaders say it will take years before local flood victims are back in their homes.
Johnston presented the chief with a commendation award to thank all Siksika volunteers for their emergency relief efforts after the flood.
"It's a fairly rare honour and we are just delighted to be here to present it to these great people, and to encourage them and to tell that they inspire communities all across Canada for what they've done," he said.
But not everyone in the community is celebrating.
"I don't think the chief should have gotten an award from the governor general," said Eileen Black, a 67-year-old elder whose home was heavily damaged by the flood.
She has diabetes and says no one helped her for days after floodwaters hit the area.
"In a way I was forgotten by the band because I lived way out there."
Now she's living out of a suitcase in temporary housing with no word on when she can move home.
"I just hope the leaders, the chief, would continue to work as hard as they can to put people back in their homes."
Chief Fred Rabbit Carrrier says band leaders are dedicated to rebuilding the community.
"It's going to take a long time for us to heal," he said.
But Rabbit Carrrier can't say how long it will take to repair the extensive flood damage.