Reverend Margaret Waterchief of Siksika Nation/Piikani Nation, beloved wife of the late Raymond Waterchief passed away peacefully at the Peter Lougheed Center on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm at the age of 88 years old. Margaret is survived by her children, Raymonda, Ernest (Verna), Lorelee, Carla, Gina, Wesley, Leandra (Alvin) Calf, Beryl, Shane (Melanie), Tracy; her traditional children Donna, Ira (Lydia), Bertina (Tom), Avery, Gina (Lance), Marcel (Delores), Yvonne, Rosa, Lyle, Tammy, Bea, Molly, Bobby, Perry, Joseph, Baxter and Jesse; her grandchildren, Treena, Rufus Jr. (Maryann), Taggert, Presley, Landon, Marissa, Billy (Kierra), Meryl (Jack), Jim (Angel), Quinn, Kansas, Rand, Raymond, Jeffrey, Keyvin (Emily), Redmond (Larissa), Ross (Lydia), Erin, Landon, Jacey (Joel), Cassidy, Bo (Bunni), Christian, Shawna (Delaney), Sheena (Desi), Shane Jr., Joanne (Jason), Treyanne, Rylee, Malorie, Malcolm, Xavier, Carlin (Arlette), Margie, Rita, Daelynn, Dawson, Lanny (Sonja), Candace (Rob), Kelvin (Lacey), Darwin, Marcella, Jaylene (Sheldon) and numerous great-grandchildren. Margaret is also survived by her Brother Mills Big Bull (Jackie), Sister Betty Big Bull of Piikani Nation, Brother in laws Mario (Karen) and Reverend Larry Waterchief of Siksika Nation.
Margaret is predeceased by her husband Raymond Waterchief, her parents Willy and Jane Big Bull; brothers Wallace, Roy, Billy and Andrew Big Bull; sisters Violet Streimer, Kathleen Grant, Maureen Stewart, Esther Provost and Caroline Big Bull; Brother in laws Jack Stewart, Guy Provost; Sister in law Beatrice Big Bull and Grandson Trevor (TJ) Waterchief.
Margaret attended St. Cyprian’s Anglican Residential School in Piikani until the age of 17. At that time, this was the age most girls were expected to be done residential school however she was encouraged to continue High School. Margaret and Jerry Potts were the first Native children to attend Mathew Halton High School in Pincher Creek. She then moved to Siksika where she met the love of her life Raymond Waterchief. While raising their ten children Margaret became actively involved in the Anglican Church and became a lifetime member of the Anglican Church Women (ACW). She was first elected into Band Council in 1967 where she served for 16 years. Margaret was instrumental in numerous major initiatives and developments on Siksika, one of them being the development of the first Day Care Centre on the Reserve. She was one of the key negotiators in the process of entering into a Tripartite Agreement between the Siksika Nation, the Provincial Government of Alberta and Federal Government of Canada for the control of Child Welfare Services by Siksika. Margaret also served on the Old Sun Board of Governors. Margaret was one of the key negotiators in ensuring that the First Nation’s people of Canada’s inherent treaty and aboriginal rights were entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, amongst a vast amount of political work for Siksika. After Margaret’s retirement from politics she started working full time with the Anglican Church and was ordained a Deacon in 1993 and then a Priest at the tender age of 62.
She is the first Native woman Priest in the Diocese of Calgary. She served a 5-year term as Priest on Piikani Nation for the St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church in her home community where she began her education as a young child at St. Cyprian’s Anglican Residential School, which brought her full circle. She then served as a Spiritual Advisor for the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) where she remained for the next 5 years. 2004 brought her back home to Siksika Nation where she worked on various committees and boards in an Elder’s Consultant capacity as well as working with the St John the Devine Anglican Church on Siksika Nation.
Throughout Margaret’s life she continually strived to improve the lives of people through her work. Her pride in her culture and strong Faith in God will continue on through the lives she touched and inspired through her life’s journey.
“Well done my good and faithful servant – Matthew 25:21”
Wake services will be held a the Gordon Yellowfly Memorial Arbour on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 6:00pm
Funeral Service will be celebrated at the Gordon Yellowfly Memorial Arbour on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 1:00pm. Officiant – Bishop Sydney Black. Graveside Service to follow at Reverend Margaret Waterchief Cemetery (West end).
The family would like to thank the Peter Lougheed Center - ICU for their amazing care of our beloved Mother and Siksika Health Services for their continuous support.
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