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Starblanket, Noel (1946–)

Noel Starblanket, born in 1946, is a member of the Starblanket Reserve. In 1971 he was elected chief of his reserve at the age of 24, thus becoming the youngest chief in Canada at that time. Starblanket was elected Third Vice-Chief of the Executive of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), and held the position of president of the National Indian Brotherhood or NIB (now the Assembly of First Nations) for two terms between 1976 and 1980. While president of the NIB, Starblanket enhanced public awareness of First Nations issues and needs, and contributed to building the Brotherhood into a strong political lobby group. He also served as Director of Treaty Rights and Research for FSIN, and attended law school at the University of Saskatchewan. Starblanket, along with Morley Watson and Vern Bellegarde, formally initiated the idea to form a competitive Native hockey team. This became a reality in 1992 when a small group of people decided to take their application to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Leagues board of governors. Lebret was subsequently granted an expansion franchise, and the Lebret Eagles was formed. Starblanket, who is now involved with Treaty 4 government, remains a strong and independent thinker; he is well known for his hard-driving leadership and for securing a place for the discussion of First Nation’s rights.

Christian Thompson

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