Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart honoured with special Blackfoot name
A Calgary wrestling icon has been bestowed with a high honour by a First Nations elder on Thursday for his work as a philanthropist, actor and writer.
Bret Hart, whose wrestling career lasted about 22 years, was given a Blackfoot name by Siksika Elder Clarence Wolf Leg Sr.
The ceremony included smudging and a performance by a drum group inside a teepee at Mount Royal University on Thursday.
Hart said the ceremony was something that his father wanted to have done for a number of years but wasn’t able to set up.
With that in mind, Hart says that he is sharing the honour with his family too.
“He was sorry that it didn’t happen for him and some of the others in the family. So, I feel like it’s one of those things that got left undone from years ago that would have meant a lot to my father to be here today,” he says. “I feel like I’m here representing my whole family.”
Hart also says that it’s a huge honour for him too.
“I think just growing up here all my life, being from Calgary, there is a strong sensitivity to the struggles of the native people in Calgary and Alberta. I think my father was well aware of it and there was an understanding and appreciation for the relationships that were forged through professional wrestling being what it is.”
Elder Wolf Leg Sr. says it's a great honour for someone to have a traditional Blackfoot name.
"Warriors that have been in battle many times, they will bestow a name that is achieved success in a war party or a battle. Some of them will go on a vision quest and when they come back, they will have to prove their spiritual guide in battle and when they come back, they tell the stories of their battles. The old warrior will then bestow a name fitting for that person."
He says that the name given to Hart goes back to an old warrior named Iron Shield.
"I chose that reference because he was surrounded in battle and they tried to take him down with arrows and knives and the great war chief said 'we cannot take this chief down, this person has a shield of honour, of iron."
Wolf Leg has given traditional names to over 100 people including military members, RCMP officers as well as many First Nations children.
Hart also received an honourary degree from MRU back in June.