LISTEN: Headdress transfer backlash targeted women, race; a disappointing understanding of culture, says Goodstriker

By Jeremy Harpe, Windspeaker Radio 88.1 FM Calgary


Last weekend’s headdress transfer to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was met with a “disappointing” backlash on social media that needed to be responded to, said Jason Goodstriker, and “it felt good”.

The Blackfoot Cultural Society had asked Jason’s father Wilton to do the transfer and provide a Blackfoot name to the premier, which the Elder did during the International Peace Powwow & Festival in Lethbridge Feb. 23 and Feb. 24.

But news of the transfer and naming caused concern on social media, with many angry and disparaging comments aimed at Notley and the family that did the ceremony.

“The backlash was huge and it was quite disappointing, and people making negative comments on this is really disappointing in terms of understanding our culture right now,” Jason told Jeremy Harpe of Windspeaker Radio, 88.1 FM Calgary.

Jason responded on Facebook in a way that challenged the criticism.

“It was something that I felt needed to be said in defence of myself and especially my father.”

“It takes 4 valiant deeds to recount before a head dress is transferred,” Jason wrote.

“When you are doing a ceremony like that for somebody of a high profile (his father) would bring out his best stories,” Jason said.

Wilton’s “best” story was the time he was in a dangerous situation as a member of the Calgary police.

“In 1968, I drew my gun as a member of the Calgary City Police. I faced off with the head of the drug rings. He set his gun down ‘cause he knew I was gonna shoot him,” Wilton told his son to communicate on his Facebook post.

It was this story that Wilton was thinking about when he named Notley Brave Heart Woman, said Jason.

More on Jason’s Facebook post can be seen at

The social media criticism swiftly came from across the county.

“What was disappointing was the amount of anger that people have towards things like this. It’s really unfortunate that it’s somewhat of a test to where we are at as a people right now,” Jason explained.

But what was truly concerning was that the criticism targeted women and race and was in many cases coming from women themselves on social media. Jason questioned whether there was lateral violence and a double standard at play.

“It’s disappointing because we go to the defence for our women. We go to the defence for our culture. But everybody seems to be getting their wires crossed. We shouldn’t be living by some sort of double standard.”