Eugene Creighton, Aakaota’si (Owns Many Horses), is a member of the Kainai/Blood Tribe, of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Eugene has many interests and one of his greatest passions has been his involvement in Rodeo. Eugene is also a proud co-founder of the Blood Reserve Rodeo Club, which was formed in 1978 to advance rodeo, riding, and social skills of the youth on the Blood Tribe Reserve. He has competed in several timed events and has a regional title in steer wrestling and team roping and has been a past qualifier in both events to the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) at the South Point in Las Vegas, NV. Eugene has been a Commissioner with the INFR since 2005. Eugene was inducted into the INFR Hall of Fame at the 2019 INFR held in Las Vegas.
His prestigious career in the law has spanned multiple decades, starting out as one of the first indigenous officers in Alberta’s Native Justice & Correction Initiatives in 1970. Eugene enjoyed a decade of service with Alberta Correctional Services first as a correctional officer in Lethbridge, AB. and then as a probation officer and district supervisor for the Fort McLeod area before attending the University of Alberta for law school. Following his articles in 1986, Eugene became general counsel for the Blood Tribe until he joined Walsh LLP (then known as Walsh Wilkins LLP). The Firm approached Eugene in 1994 as a result of his particular expertise and involvement in first Nations Law as well as his reputation as an excellent lawyer in his own right. The Firm represented a number of First Nations and recognized that it was essential to have First Nations lawyers to guide other lawyers in actions that could have significant impact on First Nation’s across Canada. Eugene was the ideal candidate for that purpose.
In 1999, Eugene became a partner of the Firm and in 2002 the Firm’s name was changed to Walsh Wilkins Creighton LLP to reflect his contributions. In 2005, he was named Alberta’s Aboriginal Role Model for Justice. In 2007, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 2009, Eugene was appointed to the Provincial Court of Alberta to serve as a Provincial Court Judge in Calgary Regional Criminal Division.
Throughout his career, Eugene has played an integral role in advocating for and developing support services for the Blood Tribe community. His contributions include assistance in developing the Tribal Justice system on the Blood Tribe Reserve, focused on incorporating Blood Tribe values and beliefs into adjudication and sentencing, building and being appointed as the first Chairperson of the Blood Tribe Police force in the mid-70’s, and introducing various programs to assist the individuals who would be in contact with police services on the reserve.
Eugene’s involvement in his community has extended beyond correctional policies and programs, including legal counsel to Blood Tribe Irrigation Project Inc. (BTAP) and its subsidiaries, one of Canada’s largest irrigation projects; assisting and advising in the expansion of the Blood Tribe Department of Health (BTDH) and its operations of its Continuing Care Centre on reserve land; the creation of Kainaiwa Children’s Services Corporation (KCSC) dedicated to child welfare; creating Kainai Board of Education and negotiating assumption of jurisdiction of education from Canada; legal counsel to Red Crow Community College; and numerous other initiatives and, generally, as counsel to the Blood Tribe Council and its Administration.
Walsh LLP is proud and honoured to have Eugene return to the firm following his retirement from the Bench in October 2019 as an advisor and mentor to young lawyers working with Indigenous people and First Nations.