We Are All Treaty People

Poundmaker exonerated

  • Published - 23/05/2019
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  • Posted By - OTC
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On May 23, Chief Poundmaker was exonerated, 130 years after he died.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at Poundmaker Cree Nation to offer an apology from the Government of Canada.

Amy Seesequasis, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner Director of Speakers Bureau attended the ceremony.

“I was so happy to be there and so proud. I get emotional when I talk about it because I shared that with my family and forever we will remember that moment when Indigenous Treaty partners were recognized,” she said.

“It was so beautiful, I cried through that whole ceremony because it meant so much to me as an Indigenous person, as Treaty 6, having children that come from Poundmaker and come from a family that are decedents of him.”

In his speech, Trudeau said, “The Government of Canada recognizes that Chief Poundmaker was not a criminal, but someone who worked tirelessly to ensure the survival of his people, and hold the Crown accountable to its obligations as laid out in Treaty 6.”

The recognition that the unjust conviction of Chief Poundmaker has and continues to have an impact on the Cree Nation, was key for Seesequasis.

“This is that moment of real truth and reconciliation because our prime minister, our leader of this country took it upon himself to recognize that legacy and do something about it,” she said.

OTC’s Director Reconciliation and Community Partnerships, Rhett Sangster, travelled to the event with his family.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for my kids to experience a moment of history,” he said, adding that Reconciliation is about shared understanding of history.

History is “more easily understandable when you’re on the site.”

Sangster said he is so happy for the people of Poundmaker Cree Nation, “I think it was a healing day.”

[Editor's Note: Thank you to Arvid Kuhnle for the images from the Chief Poundmaker exoneration ceremony]