Calgary

Incoming Tsuut'ina First Nation chief pledges closer ties with Calgary

The newly elected chief of the Tsuut'ina First Nation — whose father and grandfather were also chiefs — says one of his highest priorities is to forge closer ties with Calgarians.

'Now it's time to stop looking at each other over the fence,' says Lee Crowchild as he takes office

Lee Crowchild, the third generation of his family to be chief of the Tsuut'ina First Nation, was sworn into office on Thursday. (CBC)

The newly elected chief of the Tsuut'ina First Nation — whose father and grandfather were also chiefs — says one of his highest priorities is to forge closer ties with Calgarians.

Lee Crowchild defeated Roy Whitney in a vote last week that saw roughly 70 per cent of members cast a ballot.

"We've been neighbours a long time. Now it's time to stop looking at each other over the fence," Crowchild told members of the Calgary news media at his swearing in ceremony Thursday. "We need to work together." 

Crowchild said he's taking office at an exciting time for the relationship between Calgary and the Tsuut'ina people, with the long-negotiated southwest Calgary ring road finally moving forward and a series of major commercial developments planned adjacent to the new route.

The newly elected chief of the Tsuut’ina First Nation says one of his highest priorities is to forge closer ties with Calgarians. 0:35

The former Mount Royal University physical education instructor and father of six pledged to promote more interaction between his administration and the City of Calgary.

He also said regular Calgarians should feel welcome to visit Tsuut'ina lands.

"We're so close to the city of Calgary being on our doorstep that we've always interacted. So reaching out means we reach out to the communities as well. To all the long and established Calgarians, and to the new Calgarians, to the Muslim community, to the Jewish community and all those of other faiths."

Lee Crowchild says regular Calgarians should feel welcome to visit Tsuut'ina lands. (CBC)

Crowchid is the son of former chief Gordon Crowchild and the grandson of former chief David Crowchild, for whom Calgary's Crowchild Trail was named.

Crowchild is a frequent competitor in the rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede, as were his father and grandfather. 

As Tsuut'ina moves ahead with the developments along the future ring road on Calgary's western edge, Crowchild said striking the balance between prosperity and preserving the land will be essential.

"This land is our history, our culture, our legacy," he said.