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Memories of Ralph on minds of many Albertans
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Monday, April 1, 2013 5:27PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, April 1, 2013 6:31PM MDT
Many are sharing their favourite memories of former Alberta premier Ralph Klein since his passing and it promises to be a packed house at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Friday for the public memorial.
Former Siksika Nations Chief Adrian Stimson Sr. says he first met Ralph Klein in 1977 when he was a reporter with CFCN.
Klein traveled to the nation for a documentary leading up to the centennial of the Treaty 7 signing.
He was supposed to stay in a hotel in Strathmore but instead Stimson invited Klein to stay at his home.
That evening led to the start to a long friendship and in time the nation adopted him and made him a member of the band.
Ralph Klein was one of only two white people to ever be adopted by the band and he even picked up the language.
The elders named him Bluebird for good luck and say he had an aura about him that made people want to open up to him.
Adrian Stimson says Klein helped his people in so many ways.
"He opened a lot of doors for us like signing the tripartite agreements, the education agreements. Even negotiating the highways, that's why the 901 exists," said Stimson.
Stimson also credits Klein with strengthening the relationship between First Nations and the provincial government.
When Klein was premier he signed agreements that recognized Alberta's First Nations as individual governments to give them more control over services like education and child welfare.
Stimson says he will miss the man he considered to be his brother and friend.
The public memorial will take place at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Friday at noon.
(With files from Kathy Le)