November 21st, 2019

U of L to honour Glenbow Museum Chief Curator Emeritus

By Mabell, Dave on May 29, 2019.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

One of Alberta’s most renowned storytellers, authors and historians is being honoured by the University of Lethbridge.

Hugh Dempsey, Chief Curator Emeritus at the Glenbow Museum, has written more than 20 books that focus primarily on the culture and history of the First Nations peoples of Alberta, preserving the stories of elders for future generations. He will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree during the second Spring Convocation ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday in the 1st Choice Savings Centre gymnasium.

“Hugh Dempsey has played a very important role in the history of our province and more specifically, that of the Blackfoot people,” says U of L chancellor Charles Weaselhead.

“Through his stories and his dedication to capturing the history of First Nations peoples from the elders themselves, he has helped preserve a proud culture for future generations.

“We are honoured and humbled that he has chosen to accept our offer of an honorary degree.”

Dempsey has spent most of his life educating readers through works that brought to light the rich culture and history of the First Nations peoples of Alberta. Through his work as curator/director of the Glenbow, officials say, he has helped to shape the way Albertans view and translate their history.

In advance of the conferral of his honorary degree, Dempsey will take part in a book signing event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the University Bookstore.

After his 1953 marriage to Pauline Gladstone, the daughter of Canadian Senator James Gladstone of the Kainai Blackfoot, Dempsey began interviewing Blackfoot elders. With humility and care, he translated those interviews into stories that told the history of a proud people and reached all sections of society.

In 1967, Dempsey was inducted into the Kainai Chieftainship and conferred the name Potai’na (Flying Chief).

In 1975, Dempsey was invested as a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to the preservation of the culture and development of interest in the history of the Plains Indians.

Still an active writer, he continues to contribute to the Alberta Historical Review, and is often called upon to lend his considerable expertise and knowledge to the various collections housed at the Glenbow.

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