Recipients of the 2020 Museums Association of Saskatchewan Award of Merit for ‘Institution projects over $50,000’ were Clayton McClain Memorial Museum, Little Pine First Nation & Lucky Man Cree Nation for Moving Forward with Reconciliation.
~ from the Nomination:
“The Clayton McLain Memorial Museum is a small-town museum located in Cut Knife Saskatchewan. The Museum is located on Treaty 6 Territory and has a rich history of partnership with surrounding Indigenous communities.
The summer of 2019 was a very busy summer for the Clayton McClain Museum. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund the museum was able to partner with Little Pine First Nation and Lucky Man Cree Nation on a three-part project called “Moving Forward with Reconciliation” that was initiated by Chief Wayne Semagnuis and councilor Richard Checkiosis of Little Pine First Nation.
The first event was held on July 2, 2019 in Fort Walsh SK to recognize 140 years since Chief Minahequosis (Little Pine) and Chief Papaway (Lucky Man) were coerced into signing an adhesion to Treaty 6 because their people were suffering from forced starvation. This memorial event and was attended by over 550 people. It connected the attending members of Little Pine First Nation and Lucky Man Cree Nation to their ancestors and traditional territories by offering a feast and a mini pow wow in their honour. Jimmy O’Chiese of the Yellowhead Tribal College in Edmonton Alberta spoke and told the Cree Creation Story and how it is intimately linked to the Cypress Hills, as well as introducing the concept of land-based education for those in attendance.
The second part of the celebration took place in Cut Knife on July 5, 2019 and was attended by over 350 people. This event connected the local Indigenous people to the sacred artifacts that are held in trust in the collection of the Clayton McClain Memorial Museum. These items are normally kept separate from the rest of the collection in a secure area and are cared for by Elders through ceremony and protocol, but were brought out to be displayed for the day after the blessings and a smudging ceremony. This event also included a traditional feast and a much larger mini pow wow with dancers from Little Pine, Lucky Man, Sweetgrass and Saddle Lake. The feast and pow wow were used to honour the sacred items and the ancestors who used them in ceremonies. Another important part of the purpose of having the event in Cut Knife was also to educate people about the events that occurred 140 years ago.
The third part of the event took place on September 9, 2019 at Fort Pitt and was attended by approximately 150 people. This conclusion to the celebrations connected the Indigenous people in attendance to Treaty 6 territory and the lands they ultimately came to reside upon.
This three-part celebration heralded many firsts for many of the people involved. Overall, it was an event that should be remembered as a step towards ongoing reconciliation – a journey where there is still much more work to be done.”