by Lucie Roy
A Land Acknowledgment unveiling took place at the Morinville Community Library on Friday after the Indigenous People’s Day Flag Raising Ceremony in St. Jean Baptiste Park.
Mayor Barry Turner, Deputy Mayor Lawrence Giiffin, Councillor Sarah Hall, Alexander First Nation Chief Kurt Burnstick, Elders Terry Newborn and Ron Arcand, Marcel Arcand, Alexander First Nation Community Development Officer, library staff and Board members were some of those in attendance.
Speaking to the event was organizer Stacey Buga.
Buga spoke on the growing relationships over the past couple of years and how there has been a lot of talk about land acknowledgement [statements] and how it has become memorized and not meaningful anymore.
Buga said it can be meaningful when it is done in a proper way and the Library reached out for help at Alexander First Nation.
After talks, workshops, and consultations the Library came up with a Land Acknowledgment Statement plaque that the library is proud to hang permanently as a fixture in the library.
Library Director Isabelle Cramp unveiled the plaque and read it aloud in English. Elder Ron Arcand also read it in Cree.
Cramp said, “I am very proud and humbled to present those plaques to you and we did it as a sign that we are aware of reconciliation and we are working towards it, and this is our part in moving forward with it.”
Sarah Hall assisted with the plaque and was gracious enough to put it in Cree syllabics.
In his presentation, Elder Arcand said the Town of Morinville, surrounding area and Alexander are going to work together in the spirit of collaboration and friendship and want to move forward.
Arcand said they never gave up the land.
When Europeans came they would share the land, not give it up, they have never given up the land, always willing to share as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow.
Arcand said this is something that was always brought up in Treaty 6. “Right from the very time the Treaty was signed that these words came in, sun shines, rivers flow and grass grows, these have always been used, that means forever,” he said. “Hopefully, everybody can understand that.”
The plaque reads,” As the collective stewards of this land, Morinville Community Library strives to honour our commitment to uphold the spirit of collaboration and friendship as intended by Treaty 6. It is our pledge to learn from the past and to follow a shared path forward with those who walked these lands since time immemorial for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows.”