Aboriginal Heritage Section

Métis Week: November 13 – 18

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Excerpt from Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography (Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal, 2003)

November 13 – 18 marks the annual Métis Week celebrations. Each year, the Métis Nation of Alberta hosts events around the province to commemorate not only Riel’s uniquely complicated and heroic legacy, but the outstanding contributions of Métis people to Canada. November 16, the date Riel was executed, will be an especially significant remembrance.

When it comes to defining legacies of the women and men who helped shape Canada into what it is today, few people are as complicated as Louis Riel. The Métis founder of Manitoba and twice-elected Member of Parliament is at the same time revered and scorned; the vanguard of Métis resistance against the federal government is a hero and a traitor, depending who you ask. To this day, over 130 years after he was hanged for treason in Regina, Saskatchewan, Riel is to some still a controversial and polarizing man. But for many, especially Canada’s Métis population, Riel is a man to celebrate and to honour. (more…)

National Aboriginal Day 2017

Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/Sean Thonson

Happy National Aboriginal Day!

National Aboriginal Day was announced in 1996 by, then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc on June 21st—the summer solstice. This week, and throughout the month of June, we recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in what is today known as Alberta and Canada. During this year of celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, it is particularly important to remember the First Peoples who came before, and the thriving, contemporary First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities that continue to shape our country today.

Edmontonians are invited for stew and bannock at the Bissell Centre from 10:00AM – 2:00PM, or enjoy the day-long Aboriginal Day Live festivities at Victoria Park.

Live in Calgary? The University of Calgary is hosting a campfire chat on St. Patrick’s Island, discussing Indigenous perspectives of the cosmos through traditional storytelling, or spend your Saturday at the Family Day Festival and Powwow at the Stampede grounds.

Events are taking place throughout the week and across the province. Join us in taking the time to connect with our community, learn from one another and reflect on what it means to be a Canadian and Treaty person during this summer of celebration.

Event Listings:

Indigenous Relations’ 2017 National Aboriginal Day Events in Alberta: http://indigenous.alberta.ca/documents/NAD-Events-Alberta-June-2017.pdf?0.1319647190237596

City of Edmonton’s National Aboriginal Day Community Events: https://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_events/schedule_festivals_events/national-aboriginal-day.aspx

Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary: http://www.aawc.ca

Written By: Laura Golebiowski (Aboriginal Consultation Adviser)

National Aboriginal Day 2016

Photo Credit: Government of Alberta

Photo Credit: Government of Alberta

The Historic Resources Management Branch is privileged to work with and learn from Indigenous communities in Alberta. On June 21, we join Canadians nation-wide in celebrating National Aboriginal Day. Now in its 20th official year, National Aboriginal Day provides an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike to come together in recognition of the histories, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples in our province and across the country. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has put together a great video to celebrate the 20th Anniversary.

Whether you take in a film at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy History Series’ Film Festival, check out the festivities at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, visit the Friendship Centre in your community or commemorate the day in your own way, take the time to remember: we are all Treaty people.

A listing of 2016 National Aboriginal Day events in Alberta can be found here.

Written By: Laura Golebiowski, Aboriginal Consultation Advisor

Historic Burial near Viking, Alberta: A story of excavation, ceremony and community

In late August 2015, Brian Rozmahel, a farmer near the Town of Viking, was working in one of his fields. He recently experienced problems with gophers causing damage to his crops and decided to set up several traps as a preventative measure. One morning he went out to check the traps he set the day before and discovered something he was not expecting to find. A badger got to the site overnight and dug into the gopher burrows. Quite a bit of earth was brought up through the badger’s digging. However, there was more than just earth that was surfaced by the badger. Resting on the ground near the burrows were human remains and other items such as buttons and beads.

When Brian encountered the remains he immediately contacted the Viking Detachment of the RCMP. The RCMP cordoned off the site and did an initial investigation of the area. In the meantime, the exposed human remains were sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) for further analysis.

In consultation with forensic anthropologist, Pamela Mayne-Correia, the OCME concluded that the human remains were historic in nature and were likely of a young Aboriginal individual. The RCMP deemed the situation to not be criminal and the Historic Resources Management Branch (HRMB) was then contacted by the OCME. As the remains were considered historic, the HRMB now had jurisdiction over the site. (more…)

National Aboriginal Day 2015

Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/Sean Thonson

Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/Sean Thonson

Sunday, June 21 marks National Aboriginal Day—an opportunity to take time to learn, acknowledge and celebrate the rich contributions Canada’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit have made to our country. Officially proclaimed in 1996, National Aboriginal Day is now recognized nation-wide as part of a series of Celebrate Canada days.

If you live in Edmonton, APTN’s  Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration will be hosted in Louise McKinney Park on Saturday, June 20 and additional community events will be held throughout the week.

Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary’s theme this year is ‘Keeping the Circle Strong,’ with events taking place June 14 – 21. Additional events in Alberta are listed here.

Is your community hosting a National Aboriginal Day event? Share it with us in the comments below!

Written By: Laura Golebiowski, Aboriginal Consultation Advisor

Consulting Alberta’s Aboriginal Communities

My name is Laura Golebiowski and I am pleased to introduce myself as one of the branch’s Aboriginal Consultation Advisors. If you read RETROactive regularly, you know about the work of my colleagues in the Archaeology, Land Use Planning and Historic Places Stewardship sections. I’d like to introduce you to the work of the Aboriginal Heritage Section.

The Aboriginal Heritage Section works with Aboriginal communities to help preserve and protect traditional use sites of a historical nature. Traditional use sites may include historic cabins, campsites, burials, plant or mineral harvesting areas, as well as ceremonial or spiritual sites. Well-known Provincial Historic Resources such as the Viking Ribstones Archaeological Site or Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump also have present-day significance to some Aboriginal communities.

Traditional use sites, along with archaeological, palaeontological and historic structures, are recorded in the Listing of Historic Resources—a regularly-updated database intended as a tool for developers to determine if lands contain or have high potential to contain historic resources.

Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of traditional use sites, the Listing identifies a 360-acre buffer area around each recorded feature, rather than providing the exact site location. This ensures that our team learns of any proposed development which may potentially impact known sites and can therefore provide further direction to the developer. Under the Historical Resources Act, we can order a developer to avoid a known traditional use site, or consult with the affected First Nation on ways to mitigate the damage.

The Historical Resources Management Branch strives to build relationships with the Aboriginal communities in Alberta and that’s the bulk of what I do. The Aboriginal Heritage Section works hard to balance our regulatory responsibilities with outreach efforts and field work (which is the fun parts!). Our role in the branch is really to provide a service and a tool for First Nations in the protection of their cultural sites. We meet with communities to explain how the Listing works and how the inclusion of their traditional use sites could protect them. We field-verify known sites with community representatives to ensure information and locations are accurate. We engage with various communities to ensure that Aboriginal perspectives are incorporated into the interpretation of Alberta’s historic resources. My colleagues and I fight over who gets to take the blue jeep versus who gets to take the red jeep into the field. This is our ‘daily grind’—and we love it.

For me, the joy in this job is recognizing that traditional use sites can be both ancient and contemporary—they can be locations or sites that are actively used today, just as they have been for thousands of years. It is remarkable to visit a medicine wheel that dates back thousands of years and see new blankets and offerings placed at it. Helping to protect these places, so that these practices can continue, is something the Aboriginal Heritage Section is very happy to do.

Written by: Laura Golebiowski, Aboriginal Consultation Advisor.

National Aboriginal Day 2014

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The Historic Resources Management Branch of Alberta Culture works with Aboriginal communities to help preserve and protect their cultural heritage sites. Alberta Culture also recognizes the benefit of working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities on the promotion and interpretation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and welcomes inquiries from communities who would like assistance in this regard.

June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions to Canada of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. The history of National Aboriginal Day harkens back to 1982 when the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated on June 21. Thirteen years later in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a National First Peoples Day be designated. National Aboriginal Day is now part of a series of Celebrate Canada days, beginning with National Aboriginal Day and followed by the National Holiday of Quebec on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and concluding with Canada Day on July 1.

Edmonton is celebrating National Aboriginal day as a week-long event. Here is a list of exciting events to partake in; I hope to see you there!

Written By: Andrea Menard, Aboriginal Consultation Advisor.