“Disrespectful,” stated Dr. Wilton Littlechild, Grand Chief of Treaty No. 6, when he read the announcement of the newly-elected provincial government of Alberta that, effective from this point, “the Indigenous land acknowledgements—once symbolic openings of most government events under the NDP—are now a matter of “personal preference” at UCP official events, according to Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson.
Dr. Littlechild, an internationally-renowned expert and advocate on Indigenous issues and former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is very disheartened at the comments of the Minister of Indigenous Relations.
The TRC Report states “All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships… Together, Canadians must do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practise reconciliation in our everyday lives—within… governments.”
“I think it’s a very serious mistake and sets back all the good faith efforts by many across Alberta who have advanced Reconciliation by this simple gesture of acknowledging the historical fact that Treaty territories existed before Alberta became a province.
Such kinds of denials wherever they were done in the past have only fueled discord and animosity. I would urge both Premier (Jason) Kenney and Minister Wilson to re-think this decision, and withdraw it if they are serious about wanting to work with us as partners.”
Minister Wilson is the MLA for the Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin constituency that is comprised of the largest collective population of First Nation citizens at Maskwacis Cree (Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and Montana Cree Nations); the announcement is not being well received by leadership.