SHADE, Ervin

Posted: August 12th, 2020


Shade, Ervin Austin Noel

December 04, 1936 – August 05, 2020

Ervin (Kainaikowan – Man of the Many Leaders) was born on December 4, 1936, and passed away on August 5, 2020 in Cardston, AB at the age of 83. He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Christine and his daughters; Trina (Buck Shot), Corrine (David), and Candace (Ivan), and son Shawn Shade. He leaves to mourn his passing 17 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren; sisters – Alvine Beebe, Harriet (Leroy Heavy Runner), Colleen Crow Child, Patti (Evans Day Chief), his brothers – Barry (Ronni), Don (Marie), Hank (Evelyn), and numerous nieces and nephews. His special aunties Flora Zaharia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Agnes (Steve) Valerio, Denver, Colorado. Extended family – adopted sons: Todd, JJ, Willie, Kevin, and Tyson Shade (deceased), Doug Singer, James McNeely, Scott Fox, Billy Wadsworth, and Nick Many Fingers. Adopted daughters: Tracy Eagle Bear, Lee Rae Heavy Runner, and Renita Russell; adopted grandson Kayson McNeely and adopted granddaughter Elissa Heavy Runner. His adopted brothers: Phillip Wolf Child, Jim SWAG, Harrison Wolf Child, Jerry Potts, and Charlie Fox.

He was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Agnes Shade, father and mother-in-law, Bill Sr. and Mariam (Crying Head) Heavy Runner, daughter Marilyn, son Austin, nephews Steven Heavy Runner, Tyson Shade, and Darby Shade, stepsons John and Fredrick Heavy Runner and several Aunts and Uncles.

He was the first child of Harry and Agnes Shade. When Alvine was born in 1939, Ervin was taken by his great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Night Gun. They raised him in the Native traditional way where he learned all the Native traditional and cultural values. Kainaikowan attended the St Paul’s residential school then went to the Lee Creek Elementary School in Cardston. Due to a rodeo accident, he was unable to finish his elementary education.

At a young age, he started helping his dad with the family farming and ranching operation. Having several horses on the ranch, he along with his dad and brother Barry formed the Shade & Sons Rodeo and Cattle Company. In 1974 they were one of a handful of ranchers who got selected from Canada to import an exotic cattle breed from Europe. They raised Maine Anjou cattle on their ranch for several years. He irrigated 200 acres of alfalfa along the Bullhorn coulee.

Kainaikowan was actively involved in the sport of rodeo from the 1950’s to the 1990’s as a contestant and rodeo stock contractor. In 1968 he was one of the founding members of the Chinook Rodeo Association. In 1977 the Shade & Sons Rodeo Company produced a weeklong demonstration rodeo in the Calgary Stampede Midway for the fair goers to get a close-up view of rodeo action. One of his top bucking horses, Caravan, won the world title, Champion Bare Back Horse at the 1977 World Indian National Finals Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1979 they were one of the main rodeo stock contractors at the Calgary Stampede. Then in 1982, the Shade Rodeo Company was invited to produce some rodeos in China, but they turned the offer down after consulting with Harry Vold, a top professional rodeo stock contractor. The Shade Rodeo Company brought horses to the first 13 Indian National Finals Rodeos in Salt Lake City, Utah and Albuquerque, New Mexico. After his retirement from rodeo stock contracting, he raised some of the top bucking horses for various rodeo stock contractors in Canada. His adopted sons – Shawn, Todd, JJ, Willie, Kevin, and the late Tyson were the wranglers who took care of his horses and other manual labor on his ranch, they also assisted him with his ceremonial work. Many of his horses have been featured at the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Finals, the Indian National Finals Rodeo, and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The lazy B over 02 brand will be seen on bucking horses in Western Canada for many years down the road.

After his retirement from the rodeo world, he continued in his traditional lifestyle where he became a respected Elder. He was a member of the Horn Society for 5 years and the holder of the Horse Pipe Bundle for 7 years. Kainaikowan was involved with the youth on the Reserve first as an equipment manager for the Kainai Chiefs hockey club then went on to the Blood Tribe Horse Riding Therapeutic Program for 20 years; he brought his saddle horses to the various communities on the Reserve for the youth to ride. He counselled and taught them about their Native history, traditions and culture.

Kanaikowan spent most of his days enjoying his family, going to ceremonies, and calling friends and family on the phone. He loved gathering the family for BBQ’s where he would put in a special request for his T-bone steak to be “well done but still juicy”. He had a very special love for this grandchildren and great grandchildren, he would do anything for them. They were truly the light of his life.

His love for Christine was very special, always making sure she had the best of care and that her daily needs were met. He and Christine built an amazing home for their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and adopted children. He was the perfect role model for a husband/father/grandfather. Kainaikowan and Christine lived a life we all try to emulate. Together they travelled the rodeo trail. Sometimes he would be hauling the rough stock to a rodeo, while Christine hauled the camper and trailer and the girls to another rodeo, where they were participating.

He was a very generous man; always dedicated to the Society Members and assisted them wherever he could. This is a legacy he left and will carry on. He was a man known for his honesty, integrity, hard work ethics, and always keeping his word. He was an endless source of knowledge and loved to give history lessons about the Kainai culture. He had an extensive knowledge and understanding of horses which he passed on to his children. When he left us, his family lost their rock, the Crop Eared Wolfs and Shades lost their patriarch and the Sandhills gained a warrior.

A Wake Service will be held at Ervin and Christine’s residence on Wednesday, August 12 from 7:00 – 11:00 pm. The Funeral Service will continue at the Shade residence on Thursday, August 13 at 12:00 pm. Interment will take place in the Shade Cemetery, Blood Reserve, AB.

To send condolences please visit

Leave a Condolence