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AB Government: Pending land transfer a step toward reconciliation

Press Release

Jun 20, 2022

Alberta’s government has approved transferring land that holds a historic cemetery to the Enoch Cree Nation, a First Nation west of Edmonton.

This small parcel of land, now flanking Anthony Henday Drive, was part of Enoch Cree Nation reserve land until the federal government encouraged its surrender in 1908.

“This land should have been reserve land. We have started the process to return this sacred land to the people who have been caring for it for generations. Most of us pass it regularly without taking notice, but for the people of Enoch Cree Nation, it is a spiritual place where their ancestors may lay.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“I am pleased that Alberta’s government and the Enoch Cree Nation were able to work in collaboration on this agreement. We will continue to manage the transportation utility corridor around the cemetery in the best interest of Albertans.”
Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure and acting Minister of Transportation

In 2021, Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin approached the City of Edmonton and the Alberta government with the idea of transferring this land as an act of reconciliation.

“I thank Minister Wilson and the government as they have truly honoured our ancestors in an unprecedented act of reconciliation while at the same time being open to the future of First Nations through the urban reserve concept.”
Chief Billy Morin, Enoch Cree Nation

The land transfer has been approved; however, the full transfer of ownership will take a few months to complete. Surrounding lands will continue to be publicly owned and used for current and future pipeline development without harm to the historic cemetery.

Quick facts

  • There are upwards of 400,000 acres of surrendered “Indian” reserve lands in Alberta. Some of these surrenders were fraudulent due to the actions of Canada and its agents.
  • In 2004, the Enoch Cree Nation reached a $54-million settlement with the federal government about the 1908 action.

Reconciliation is a priority for Alberta’s government. As partners in reconciliation, we are listening to and working with Indigenous Peoples in Alberta to determine the best ways forward to a better future.

IBF5

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