J. Wilton Littlechild
Willie Littlechild was an exceptional athlete as a young boy and he had huge dreams. A Cree Indian from the Ermineskin Tribe of the Maskwacis Cree Nation, he has won more than seventy provincial, regional, national and international championships in the sports of hockey, swimming, baseball and triathlon. He also competed in rodeo (bull riding) and golf. Willie earned his Master's Degree in Physical Education in 1975 and was the first Treaty Indian from Alberta to graduate from Law School, in 1976. While at university, Willie developed his skills in sports administration by serving as vice-president of the Men's Athletic Association and as student manager of football and basketball teams.
As an athlete, coach, volunteer and sports consultant, Willie recognized the benefits of sport and strived to create opportunities for youth to improve their self-esteem and realize their potential through sport. Having organized many sport schools and coaches clinics, he visualized a world-wide Olympic-style Indigenous Games. In 1971, he organized a sporting event – the Native Summer Games for Alberta. The Enoch Cree Nation hosted the games with more than 3000 athletes participating in 13 sporting events. The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) was born and is now the highlight for thousands of Indigenous athletes and cultural participants from across North America. He also organized the Native Golf Association and the Native Hockey Council.
Dr. Littlechild was the first Treaty Indian elected Member of Parliament and helped draft the United Nations and OAS Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – including the recognition of "sports and traditional games". He has received numerous awards throughout the years which include the Tom Longboat Award as the Canadian Indian Athlete of the Year in 1967 and 1974, and the World Fete d' Excellence Laureate for Sports award in 1999 and 2000; the Alberta Centennial Hockey Award; and has been inducted into six other Sports Halls of Fame. Dr. Littlechild received the Order of Canada in 1998 for sports and law.
- 2010 – Torchbearer and ambassador for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games Torch relay
- 2014 – Reappointed to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- 2014 – Alberta Order of Excellence
- 2014 – 2015 Indspire Award for Law and Justice – one of the highest honours bestowed upon an indigenous person