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Edmonton Briefs - May

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Elder honoured at university Elder Theresa (Minde) Wildcat of the Ermineskin Cree Nation is the newest recipient of the Alumni Association Citation Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose by a member of the community. Wildcat was born in Hobbema and was the first member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation to graduate from high school in 1951 and received a teaching diploma from the University of Alberta in 1953. After working as the first Aboriginal teacher in Cardston and Gleichen, she returned to Hobbema to teach. She married Sam Wildcat and had five children, three of whom attended Augustana. Wildcat’s accomplishments are many. She was elected the first woman councillor of the Ermineskin Band, helped found the Ermineskin Education Trust Fund, drafted the Ermineskin Cree Nation’s constitution, and established Hobbema’s Maskwachees Cultural College. She helped establish Hobbema’s first newspaper, the Bear Hills Native Voice, the Native Student Centre at the University of Calgary, and was a founding member of the Alberta Native Teachers’ Society. Wildcat sat on the University of Alberta’s Senate. She worked with Augustana’s Aboriginal Students Office to establish connections with the four First Nations in Hobbema. CFAR conference to be hosted on Enoch The River Cree Resort, on Enoch First Nation, will be hosting the CFAR conference May 19-20. Entitled Stewardship: Integrating Cultural Values in Land Use Planning, the conference is a timely exploration of integrating cultural values in land use planning. High profile speakers will present on topics of interest and facilitate interactive workshops that promise to be engaging. Speakers will broaden the scope of the conference to include interprovincial and international perspectives. The conference will also provide networking and professional development opportunities. Co-operative to support artists, artisans First Nations artists and artisans were recently given the opportunity at a conference held in Edmonton to learn more about the Cree-operative Arts and Artists Co-op. This cross nation cooperative supports the development and marketing of First Nations art and artisan products. Membership in the cooperative is open to First Nations across Alberta and Canada. This proposed national cooperative draws heavily from the inspiration of the Arctic Cooperatives Ltd. and its capacity to collectively produce and sell millions of dollars annually of Dene and Inuit arts. Arctic Cooperative Ltd. won numerous awards including the most successful economic development vehicles in the world. The conference was hosted by the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. New location on university campus to benefit institute The Institute of Prairie Archaeology, formed in May of 2008 under the auspices of the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, recently relocated to space formerly used by the Coulee Institute in HUB Mall.”Cultural identities were created when people came out into the Plains region,” said Jack Ives, professor of Northern Plains archaeology and executive director of the institute in an interview with the university’s newspaper ExpressNews. “I hope the institute can shine a light on this very rich prehistoric past, much of it created by our First Nations’ ancestors, and serve an outreach function with communities across the province and Western Canada.” Ives said the new location will allow the institute to better achieve its mandate to enhance public, First Nations and rural engagement with the university in archaeological, anthropological and interdisciplinary research in the Northern Plains region of Western Canada and the northern United States. Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers celebrate 25 years The Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers celebrated a quarter century of promoting Métis culture all around North America with an anniversary gala at Fort Edmonton Park on April 29. In 1985, Georgina Donald was the cultural and referral worker at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre. She saw a need to teach young Métis the importance of their traditional dances, music and culture. She enrolled Moise White to teach the local Métis traditional dances as well as several called square-dances done in our community. Since then the Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers have been representing the Métis Nation promoting Métis dance, music and culture. Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers were instrumental in developing two instructional Métis dance videos and also produced two Métis fiddle CDs featuring dance music for traditional Métis dance groups. The group has also produced and developed “Métis Fest” an annual fiddle, Métis dance and Red River jig contest held in Edmonton since 1999. Compiled by Shari Narine