Rev John Snow

Keynote Presenter
John Snow full res.jpg

Rev John Snow Jr is one of the Keynote Speakers at the upcoming Festival of Telling in April. He has an amazing heritage. His father was the Late Rev Dr Chief John Snow, a man who accomplished many great things for the Stoney Nakoda tribe and also helped Canadians to better understand Indigenous people.

Rev Dr Chief John Snow wrote a book called These Mountains are Our Sacred Places: the Story of the Stoney People. He wrote, “Long ago my ancestors used to go to the mountaintops to pray. They were a deeply religious people who followed, observed, and upheld the teachings, customs, and beliefs of our forefathers, respected the creations of the Great Spirit, and lived in harmony with nature.”

Rev Snow Jr  is a direct descendant of Treaty 7 signatories and a member of the Stoney Tribe. He is a sun-dancer and pipe-holder in the Nakoda Tradition.

John has an impressive educational background. He has had training in Canada, the United States and London, England. He holds an MA in Political Science in Public Policy, Law and Administration from the University of Calgary. He also graduated from the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Center, Indigenous Ministry Program. Rev Snow Jr is currently completing his Master of Divinity at Vancouver School of Theology.

John is passionate about Truth and Reconciliation and serves as Indigenous Minister for Pacific Mountain Region in the United Church of Canada, and began that position on August 1, 2020, although he was raised his whole life in the Church. He speaks extensively, teaches and is highly knowledgeable about Indigenous Theology and history. He can tell many wonderful stories about many topics.

The Stoney People refer to themselves as "Nakoda" which means “The People”. Rev John explained to me how the Stoney People got their name from settlers, and is quick to point out they have their own interpretation of their people. The white English explorers called them ‘Stoney’ because they used fire-heated rocks to boil buffalo in earthen dugouts. The Nakoda also smoked stone pipes and used heated rocks for their sweat lodges. There are so many things to learn and to share. John is a wealth of information and kept saying, “I could talk for a year about that, too…!”

This Traditional Nakoda pipe holder is a holy man, and has worked with provincial and federal governments to advise on policy and legislation, guided by the Treaties, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). He is valued for his insights on Indigenous Theology and history.

At the Festival of Biblical Telling John will discuss the significance of story and the importance of respecting all peoples’ stories. All our hearts break over the way his people were mistreated, and although there is pain, we pray it leads to a path of hope. He believes through dialogue our churches can come to understand Indigenous people and thus influence healing for all.

We are so privileged to hear his story and honour his life-long commitment to reconciliation, healing and love in the name of our dear Creator.

- Heather Seargeant