The decision has since received some criticism within the Indigenous community.
“I do believe that she deserves some sort of merit, but to be given a traditional headdress, to be given that ceremonial platform, I don’t agree with” said Blackfoot activist, Garret Smith.
“We have children in the community that need traditional names, that need re-connection, that need acceptance back into the culture.”
Smith was one of many that took his frustration to social media. However, he said, despite his difference in opinion, he respects the family and elders involved and understands “the need for reconciliation.”
“A lot of our people don’t have the connection and for us to pull our cultural resources, to give it away, it seems like we need to refocus exactly where our priorities lay and how to re-build our own cultures instead of giving it away”, Smith said.
Former regional Chief, Jason Goodstriker, who’s father decided to give Notley the headdress and name says she earned it.
“There’s been quite a few millions of dollars that have been transacted over her term and it runs the infrastructure for our communities,” Goodstriker said, adding the pushback on social media has shown a lack of compassion.
“We failed at a test being put to our people in terms of understanding and compassion. Whenever something like this happens to an Indian woman, we would all rise to her defense and be there to be by her side.” He said, “What’s the whole deal with the Indian and white thing? As Indians we all get pressured and rise to each other’s defense when it comes to racism now this is being reversed”