'I practised to be a better man:' Meet a modern-day warrior

Leonard Saddleback is one of several Saskatoon men who are looking to past traditions of warrior societies to help them find focus in their modern lives.

Leonard Saddleback is channeling his energy into helping people in his community

"I can talk all the words I can, and I can say all I want. [But] it's all my actions, and I make sure everybody pays attention to that." (Josh Lynn/CBC)

Leonard Saddleback wants to live as a warrior, and for him, helping his community is a part of that. 

"When you go out and you hear people [at] parties, and they're slapping their chests and they're calling themselves warriors, I find that offensive," said Saddleback in an interview with CBC.

"When you say you're a warrior and next you're trying to fight your own brothers, you're robbing people and you're fighting people ... you don't even got a job and you call yourself a warrior. To me that is not a warrior."

Up until recently, Saddleback was a member of the Crazy Indians Brotherhood, something he saw as a modern-day take on a traditional warrior society.

He and several other members of the Brotherhood are now leaving in order to pursue a more traditional type of association that isn't associated with the imagery of a gang — symbols such as vests, jackets and patches. 

But their warrior mentality is still a part of their new project.

"What I was taught from my elders, the true definition of a warrior is a person who follows their buffalo, that's a warrior. [To] modern day warriors, our buffalo is our job."

He describes the way he grew up as "rough" but when two of his brothers went to jail, it was a wake-up call. 

"They were like, 'Len, it's up to you bro. You gotta be our rock.' So I did. I did that and I practiced to be a better man, to be a better role model."

Saddleback said he is a traditional man, who attends sun dances and ceremonies.

He is also a practical man who plans to study business and wants to eventually open his own restaurant. In the mean time, he's proud to provide for his family. 

"I bartend for a living. There's nothing wrong with that because I make good money. I'm putting clothes on my kids backs, I got a roof over their heads and myself, I'm feeding them."

Saskatoon Morning has profiled several men who are trying to make a difference in their community by helping others, and also tapping into their aboriginal heritage. 

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