Born and raised on the Indian reserve at Morley, Alberta, west of Calgary, Chief John Snow was elected Chief of the Nakoda-Wesley First Nation from 1968-1992 and again from 1996-2000. The first ordained minister of the United Church from the Stoney Nation, Chief Snow held an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the University of Calgary (1981) and an honorary doctorate of divinity degree from Cook College and Theological School, Tempe, Arizona (1986), as well as numerous achievement awards. Chief Snow was a trailblazer and a nation builder; he was a spokesman, ambassador, statesman, lecturer, writer, author, and spiritual leader for his people.
Chief Snow has been the featured speaker at many events–from school graduations to treaty conferences, elders’ think-tanks to constitutional meetings and treaty rights symposia. Chief Snow has also been the leader in many groundbreaking events and establishments during his career since the first edition of These Mountains Are Our Sacred Places in 1977. He hosted the North American Indian Ecumenical Conference held from 1971 to 1985 on the sacred grounds wihin Stoney Indian Park; established the Nakoda Conference Centre in 1980, the Chief Goodstoney Rodeo Centre in 1982, and the Nakoda Hotel built in 1988 and 1989; impelmented local control of community education and the Morley Community School in 1985; successfully negotiated two precedent-setting land claims in 1990 and 1999; and, in 1999, invited the sixth triennial World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) to Morley (WIPCE was held on the sacred grounds of the Nakoda People in August 2002).
Chief Snow retired from political office in 2000 and suffered the loss of his wife, Alva in June of 2000. He took great pride in, and is survived by, his seven children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.