Indigenous experience installation at revamped Edmonton park tells truth about country’s history

Park partnered with the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta to ensure accuracy

A park in Edmonton has reopened after a multi-million-dollar renovation, and the highlight is a new Indigenous Peoples Experience, an installation telling the good and bad stories from centuries ago to today.

Fort Edmonton Park has been a popular attraction in the city since 1974. It reopened on July 1 after a $165-million facelift provided by all levels of government.

And the heart of the revamp is the huge Indigenous People’s Experience.

The park partnered with the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta to ensure accuracy.

All aspects of history are represented: the loss of buffalo, residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girls.

Renee Williams, senior vice-president of the park, said they did 50 interviews with knowledge keepers and elders from various nations to help inform the stories told.

Evert Poor is the Indigenous narrative supervisor. He came out of retirement to be a part of the Indigenous Peoples Experience.

“It’s a world class facility,” said Poor. “I’ve been to most of the Indigenous peoples experiences in western North America, and they are very good. I think we’ve gone a step further in conveying a story. And not only the story that comes from this space, but also from the people here.”

Poor says the experience will help educate those who want to learn more about Indigenous history.

“I think what is really important in this facility is that it indicates that we’ve always been here. And we are still here as a people,” said Poor. “A lot of misperceptions that history starts 150 years ago, or 200. We’ve always been here.”

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.