Government seeks Indigenous artists to create memorial

Government seeks Indigenous artists to create memorial

The Alberta Government is seeking Indigenous artists to design a monument for the Residential Schools Memorial.

On June 25, 2021, the Alberta government announced it would work with Indigenous communities to establish a permanent memorial on the Alberta legislature grounds for the victims of the residential school system.

According to the news release, the provincial government has asked leaders of Indigenous organizations to be on a consultation panel, create an expression of interest, review submissions and choose one or more artists to design the memorial.

The Residential Schools Memorial Advisory Panel was established to develop a vision for the memorial with consultation from Indigenous communities, review eligible artist submissions and recommend an artist to create the memorial.

“The memorial matters because of where we have journeyed and who we are,” said Elder Bert Auger of Whitefish Lake First Nation. “This is to never forget the residential school experience.”

The chosen artist is expected to be announced this fall.

Artist eligibility

Any Indigenous artist or artist-led teams, collectives or partnerships of artists from or living in Alberta are welcome to submit an expression of interest. Recent familial connections to Alberta First Nations or with the Metis Settlements and Métis Nation Regions are required.

Expression of Interest

Eligible proposals must:

  • include a Letter of Interest for the proposed concept
  • include a resume/CV/biography(ies) in the application
  • demonstrate experience and ability to manage and deliver the scope of work proposed
  • include examples of public artwork with a clear demonstration of how the final project will be delivered with pictures/images
  • include a rendering or image to support the proposed concept attached
  • demonstrate a meaning/impression/story of how the proposal reflects the history of residential schools in Alberta
  • include a connection to Indigenous communities in Alberta

The panel will only consider proposals that meet these submission requirements.

To apply and learn more about the criteria, visit the Alberta Government website.

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration coming to Heritage Village on June 21 

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration coming to Heritage Village on June 21 

Fort McMurray, AB – The Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre (NAFC) is hosting a community celebration to honour the 26th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day at Fort McMurray Heritage Village on June 21.

National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on the summer solstice each year during National Indigenous Heritage Month, and it’s a special occasion to welcome everyone to learn more about the culture and heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. 

NAFC’s Executive Director Stacy Gillingham explains how the Centre is happy to be able to host an in-person celebration after the past event postponements due to the pandemic.

“We’ve been anticipating this event tremendously as we see the value in bringing our community together to share the heritage and culture of our Indigenous peoples,” she said. “We’ve selected Heritage Village as our event location because history matters. Together, we can honour and celebrate why this day and National Indigenous History Month is important to our region and nation.”

The event will start at 4 p.m. with a cultural ceremony, including a land acknowledgement by NAFC representative Georgina Sanderson and prayer by Fort McMurray Métis Leonard Hansen. The ceremony will conclude with an Elder Blessing by Denesuline Elder Charles Nokoho singing and Denesuline Drummer Allen Tssessaze.

The family-friendly celebration will continue with an art activity to invite guests to paint ‘what reconciliation means to them’ under a canopy of tents. Guests will also receive welcomes from mascots Rooty, the A&W Root Beer bear and Nitotem, the Wood Buffalo 2023 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) lynx. AWG representatives will have Indigenous games and trivia to play. 

Food and refreshments will be served until the event wrap-up at 6:30 p.m., thanks to the generosity of Culligan Water, Educo Holdings Ltd., Herc Equipment Rental, Joly’s Your Independent Grocer, McMurray Métis, Parents of Panthers and Western Restaurant Franchises Inc. (Fort McMurray A&W restaurants).   

Inaugural Burgers for Friendship event raises over $2.5K on National Day of Awareness of MMIWG2S+

Inaugural Burgers for Friendship event raises over $2.5K on National Day of Awareness of MMIWG2S+

Fort McMurray, AB – Western Restaurant Franchise Inc., A&W Fort McMurray Franchisee raised $2,500 for the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre (NAFC) during the inaugural Burgers for Friendship event on May 5.

“We can’t thank A&W and their wonderful teams enough for their support on our fundraiser,” said NAFC’s Executive Director Stacy Gillingham. “We appreciate all the community support and efforts made to raise awareness on such an important day. We are excited to work with A&W to make this opportunity an annual fundraiser.”

Fort McMurray’s A&W locations teamed up with NAFC on the National Day of Awareness for MMIWG2S+ to raise funding support for the Centre’s community programs and services. Marie Dejon-Cruz, Area Manager – Fort McMurray Region of Western Restaurant Franchises Inc., said they plan to continue making the Burgers for Friendship event an annual initiative.

“We hope to do this every year going forward. Everyone was moved by the event and thought it was both timely and gratifying to have a small impact on such a tragic and important initiative.”

NAFC representatives gathered at A&W’s downtown location on Franklin Avenue with community ambassadors, businesses and organizations. Prestige Jewellers donated $2,000 in jewellery for a raffle draw to support the cause and event.

Special thanks to Fort McMurray Public School Division teacher Brooke McMillan and the students of Holy Trinity Catholic High School’s culinary arts program for raising $450 through their Red Dress cookie bake sale.

To learn more about the programs and services available at the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre, visit