By Deb Steel
While it might look like plaques from Edmonton's Aboriginal Walk of Honour have mysteriously gone missing, that’s not exactly the case. So says Bert Crowfoot, founder and publisher of Windspeaker.com, and CEO of CFWE-FM and the new Calgary station, CJWE 88.1.
He was surprised when he read a CBC report yesterday that his plaque was one of the ones that had allegedly disappeared. A CBC report quoted a Vancouver woman who said she believed the plaques had been stolen.
Some of the plaques on the cement slabs, in which the hand prints and signatures of media luminaries were preserved, including those of late Gil Cardinal, actress Tantoo Cardinal and Crowfoot himself, were not in their place.
The woman had travelled to Edmonton from B.C. and had visited the Walk of Honor on July 4 to see her late uncle Gordon Tootoosis’ plaque, which was undisturbed. She contacted the city to report the missing plaques and discovered there had been no recent maintenance on the Walk of Honor by Edmonton.
CBC reported that the Edmonton Police Service was on the case and investigating.
Crowfoot said he had a little chuckle. But then decided to speak up when the Edmonton Journal published a similar story. According to Crowfoot, the plaques aren’t stolen from their homes at Beaver Hills House Park. They are in storage.
“About a year-and-a-bit ago, someone called me and said ‘Hey, your plaque is missing down at the Walk of Honor. So I phoned Dreamspeakers.” They told Crowfoot at that time his plaque had come loose and said they had it with them at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival office and were intending to re-install it.
Yesterday, he put in a call to Dreamspeakers, but got no response. So he called people he knew who had been involved in the Walk of Honor several years ago, and they told him there had been several plaques at the office that needed to be reinstalled.
Crowfoot was among some of the first inductees into the Walk of Honor after it was initiated as a part of Dreamspeakers Film Festival in 2005. The plaques with handprints found a home at Beaver Hills House Park in 2008.
“It seems to me that most of those ones that are missing are from the same year that I was inducted. So, I’m not sure if the system or the method they used to put them in was faulty.”
Crowfoot said the plaques are safe, as far as he knows.
“Hopefully they will get reinstalled soon…. Dreamspeakers’ concept is awesome. It’s an honor to be part of that walk… I’m just proud to be part of that.”
The Walk of Honor is intended to "be a lasting legacy” to recognize Aboriginal leaders’ “efforts and hard work at bringing a new understanding to the varied cultures, traditions, languages and artistic expressions of Aboriginal people in Canada."
Windspeaker.com reached out to Dreamspeakers for a comment and was told a spokesperson would not be available until Monday.