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1961 ‘Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyuh Khanum Visits Peigan Indians During Tour of Canada

This is one entry in a A Selected timeline related to the history of the Baha’is of Alberta I am working on. I am using the Wikipedia model of inline edit, inline citation – one entry, at least one reference. (The MA thesis, PhD dissertation, article, book, interview, video, blog with author, title, date, publisher and accessdate, isbn or doi if available, number of pages in document, page number, etc) If you have sentence size entries you feel should be here, please leave a message with as much of the reference data as possible. If you don’t have the reference, feel welcome to add the entry. I will also put this in My G Drive for those who use that and you can edit directly. This is one of my 2017 – 2019 personal research projects and it is a small part of the ongoing Alberta-wide project on the same topic. We are blessed to live in an age where we can read the archives material from the comfort of our homes, realizing now in the 2000s just how much these early friends from Alberta accomplished. Read the Bahai News from 1961 in the PDF for more about them.

Canadian Baha’i News. November 1960. ‘Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyuh Khanum Visits Peigan Indians During Tour of Canada.” November 1960. page 2. PDF

The following is an article published in the Canadian Baha’i News.

“During ‘Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyuh Khanum’s tour of Canada last Spring, she made a request to meet with the Peigan Indian chiefs. The Canadian National Indian Teaching Committee wrote to the head chief, John Yellowhorn and each councillor, inviting them to meet with her at the home of Councillor Samson Knowlton on Saturday, May 21. The Peigan Baha’is and others prayed constantly for the realization of this unique meeting.

On the morning of May 21, Ruhiyyuh Khanum, Mrs. Jean Chute, Arthur Irwin, Lily Ann Irwin, and John Hellson drove from Calgary to the Peigan Reserve and were met at the Knowlton home by members of the Peigan Baha’i group and two of the councillors, Walter Bastien and Charlie Crow Eagle, the latter of whom, although elderly and in poor health, had walked three miles to attend the meeting. When Ruhiyyuh Khanum was seated, Head Chief John Yellowhorn, Councillor Pat Bad Eagle, and Councillor Joe Crowshoe, entered and were introduced. Other guests continued to arrive until there were thirty adults and about twenty children present.

Ruhiyyuh Khanum, in addressing the gathering, spoke of her early and continued interest in the Indian people and of her recent visit to the Hopi Indians in the United States. She told them that Baha’is believe the Indians have a great destiny, and indicated the need of civilization for the qualities that the Indian people could bring to it.

She then said, “When I knew I was coming here I did not know whether you had a place to meet, but I understand that you will soon have one. I want to offer to your chief for the people nor for the Baha’is or for any particular person, but for the people, a gift from me, something that is made in Persia, because I thought it would interest you, and it has some beautiful words on it. It is a little rug. I think it was made by Persian Baha’is. And this (pointing to the Greatest Name in the center of the rug) is a prayer. It says, “O Glory of the Most Glorious’-in other words, a prayer to God that is the Highest of all high things, Brightest of all bright things. And these words in Persian which are very beautiful and I know we all believe them. They say that all men are like leaves of one branch and branches on one tree. The other part says we must all associate with each other with the greatest of friendship and kindness. I think you believe this, and I believe it.”

Chief Yellowhorn received the gift graciously on behalf of the Band Council, and said that when the new hall was built this year, it would be framed and hung where all could see it.

The Councillor Crow Eagle asked them to all go outside so that they might give a special name to Ruhiyyuh Khanum. Outside, the two eldest councillors stood to either side of Ruhiyyuh Khanum, and the rest of the gathering stood nearby. As the sun came out behind a cloud, Councillor Crow Eagle raised his right hand and called out in his language for the Great Spirit to come and bless this lady with a holy name. He then named her, “Our Blessed Mother.”

The visit concluded with a luncheon prepared by the Peigan Baha’is, and then Ruhiyyuh Khanum and others left for Calgary, where a meeting was scheduled for that evening.”

See also this Hand of the Cause Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum with some Baha’is from the Piegan Reserve, Alberta, Canada, circa 1980s.

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