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Treaty No. 6 Medal Returns to Red Pheasant Cree Nation after 134 Years

Red Pheasant Cree Nation, SK (June 28, 2019): The Treaty No. 6 Medal that was first presented to Chief Red Pheasant (Pihew Ka-mihkosit) on August 28,1876 at Fort Carlton is returning home to the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in an official Repatriation Ceremony on July 4, 2019. The Ceremony will be held at the George Benson Memorial Pow Wow Grounds at 11 am as part of the inaugural Chief Red Pheasant Treaty Days Celebration. The Treaty No. 6 Medal is being repatriated by the Manitoba Museum. The Medal was acquired by the Museum in 1994 as part of the donation of over 25,000 artifacts in the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection.

All are invited to attend this historic moment for the Red Pheasant community! Representatives from the media planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Craig Wuttunee at craigwuttunee@yahoo.ca

The Repatriation Ceremony includes the following representatives:

  • Chief Clint Wuttunee, Red Pheasant Cree Nation
  • Winston Wuttunee, Red Pheasant Cree Nation
  • Elder Eldon Bear, Little Pine First Nation
  • Dr. Gerald McMaster, Ontario College of Art & Design and Red Pheasant Cree Nation
  • Seema Hollenberg, Director of Research, Collections & Exhibitions, Manitoba Museum
  • Dr. Maureen Matthews, Curator of Cultural Anthropology, Manitoba Museum
  • Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations
  • Chief Bobby Cameron, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations
  • Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
  • Neil Sasakamoose, CEO, Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc.
  • Wanda Wilson, President, Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural College
  • Mary Culbertson, Commissioner, and David Arnot, Former Commissioner, Office of the Treaty Commission
  • Loretta Ross, Treaty Relations Commissioner of Manitoba
  • Dr. Harry Bone, Chair of the Elder’s Council of the Manitoba Treaty Relations Commission
  • Adriana Bacheschi, External Relations Manager, Parks Canada
  • Kaylee Beck, National Historic Site and Visitor Experience Manager, Fort Walsh and Fort Battleford
  • Mayor Ryan Bater, City of North Battleford
  • Mayor Ames Leslie, Town of Battleford
  • Glen McCallum, President, Métis Nation of Saskatchewan
  • Billy Kennedy, Minister Sports and Recreation, Metis Nation of Saskatchewan
  • Leah Garvin, Curator/Manager. Allan Sapp Gallery
  • S/Sgt. Darcy Woolfitt, Operations, NCO Battlefords Detachment
  • Cpl. James Fenrich, Crime Prevention/Victim Services, NCO Battlefords Detachment
  • S/Sgt. Greg Abbott, NCO Central District
  • Herb Sutton, Community Program Officer, Battlefords Detachment
  • Sgt. Karren Pelletier, NCO F Division Indigenous Policing Services
  • Sgt. Barry Ledoux, NCO F Division Indigenous Policing Services
  • Joslyn Wuttunee, Retired RCMP, Red Pheasant Cree Nation
  • Micheal Isaac, Military Police

On Wednesday, a day prior to the formal Repatriation Ceremony, a symbolic return of the medal to the grave site of Chief Red Pheasant will be conducted at 7am. Media are welcome to attend but no recording will be permitted during the ceremony. Following the symbolic Ceremony the Treaty Medal will be on view on the Pow Wow grounds on Wednesday afternoon.

 

“The Cree leaders who signed Treaty No. 6 in 1876 took this negotiation seriously and the Cree, being a symbolic people, placed great value in the objects presented and exchanged,” says Chief Clint Wuttunee of Red Pheasant Cree Nation. “Many Indigenous people’s personal belongings ended up in private and museum collections throughout the world. We find ourselves sometimes missing connections to our past, and although we have the teachings and stories of our Elders, it is also important to have these family and community possessions and heirlooms to remember the past, the character and nature of Treaty, and help pave the future for our youth.”

“The Manitoba Museum is delighted to see the Treaty No. 6 Medal return home.  We acknowledge that repatriation is a vital aspect in the journey towards reconciliation,” says Seema Hollenberg, Director of Research, Collections & Exhibitions of the Manitoba Museum. “It is our sincerest hope that reuniting the Medal with the community will reconnect Red Pheasant people with their history.”

The Red Pheasant Cree Nation’s intention is to share the Medal with the community and make it available for viewing. They have arranged for the Medal to be on display at the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) in Saskatoon. The SICC is open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays and the Medal will be on view beginning July 8.

“The Treaty 6 Medal is a testament of the relationship the Crown has to the First Nations,” said SICC President, Wanda Wilson. “This is a historic event and SICC is honoured to be part of the repatriation. The vision of SICC to promote, preserve and protect First Nations culture and language is being fulfilled. I am sure those who established SICC almost 50 years ago will be very proud! Congratulations to Red Pheasant and we look forward to those members visiting the centre.”

The Treaty No. 6 Medal first came to the attention of the Museum’s former Curator of Ethnology, Dr. Katherine Pettipas in 2002, towards the end of the appraisal and cataloguing process of the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection. Dr. Pettipas was aware of its significance, having served on the joint Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples (1992), which provided guidance for museums to conduct respectful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities.

Dr. Pettipas’ research revealed a letter accompanying the Medal stating that it was removed from Chief Red Pheasant’s body in 1885 by the Indian Agent who attended his funeral. It was later sold to H. Fry of Lancashire, England, and the Hudson’s Bay Company acquired it around 1952. Having learned the disconcerting provenance of the Medal, Dr. Pettipas initiated contact with Red Pheasant Cree Nation Chief and Council.

Since that time, the possibility of repatriating the Medal was raised by community leaders a few times, and in the fall of 2018, the Museum received a formal request for repatriation from Red Pheasant Cree Nation. Museum staff welcomed Chief Clint Wuttunee and the Band Council who visited and blessed the Medal, attended a community consultation meeting at the Red Pheasant community hall, and on June 20, 2019 the Manitoba Museum Board of Governors granted, without condition, full ownership of the Treaty No. 6 Medal to the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.

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About the Red Pheasant Cree Nation
Red Pheasant Cree Nation is located 33 km south of North Battleford, Saskatchewan with an infrastructure that includes a band office, band hall, K-9 school, public works building, fire hall, town site, and hockey arena. Total membership 2,490. Original land base: 24,320 acres increased by 38,217 acres through Treaty Land Entitlement for a total of 62,537 acres. The urban reserve in North Battleford will be breaking ground September 2019 on a new economic venture. The main economic base is agriculture and the band farm operates on 7,000 cultivated acres and also hosts their own grocery store. Another major feature along the highway frontage is the development of a chuckwagon and horse race track, pow wow grounds, and other Indigenous Tourism Initiatives.

About the Manitoba Museum
The Manitoba Museum is the province’s award-winning heritage and science centre. It is unique in its combination of human and natural history themes and renowned for its inclusive portrayal of Manitoba’s history. The Museum has a long history of working collaboratively with Indigenous groups to develop exhibits about Indigenous history. The Museum has a sacred storage facility, or Keeping House, where respected Elders look after sacred artifacts owned by Indigenous peoples who have asked the Museum to care for them.  Among the collections in the Keeping House are the Sacred Collections of the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation and the Pauingassi Collection.

About the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre
The Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) has served First Nations peoples since 1972. It was the initial First Nations controlled educational institution serving at the provincial level. The SICC strives to maintain the cultural and linguistic identity of First Nations cultures who inhabit what is now known as Saskatchewan: Plains Cree, Swampy Cree, Woodlands Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakoda and Lakota. The SICC operates a library, curriculum resource, collections, cultural and language departments. In addition, the SICC and offers a wide range of programming throughout the year.

 

 

For interviews or more information from Red Pheasant Cree Nation, contact:
Craig Wuttunee
Event Coordinator, Red Pheasant Cree Nation
t. 306-480-8995
craigwuttunee@yahoo.ca
For interviews or more information from the Manitoba Museum, contact:
Jody Tresoor
Communications Specialist, Manitoba Museum
w: 204-988-0614 c: 204-228-2374
jtresoor@manitobamuseum.ca
For interviews or more information from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, contact:
Wanda Wilson
President, Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre
t. 306-244-1146
wanda.wilson@sicc.sk.ca

 


 

BACKGROUND:
TREATY NO. 6 MEDAL RETURNS TO RED PHEASANT CREE NATION

  1. Red Pheasant Cree Nation History

Red Pheasant Cree Nation is located south of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Prior to the signing of Treaty No. 6, Chief Wuttunee (Porcupine) and his Cree band hunted and fished along the Battle River and conducted trade in the Battleford region. Wuttunee was opposed to the terms of the Treaty so negotiations were conducted by his brother, Red Pheasant, who signed Treaty No. 6 on September 9, 1876, and became chief of the band. In 1878 the band settled on their reserve in the Eagle Hills. Red Pheasant died of small pox in August 28, 1876 and Wuttunee became chief.
The reserve is located 33 kilometres south of North Battleford.  The main economic base is agriculture, but the reserve hosts a band-owned grocery store, and in 1997 the band signed an oil and gas agreement with Wascana Energy Inc. The band’s successful completion of a Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement has enabled them to increase their reserve’s size to 29,345.7 hectares and invest in furthering economic development. The band has 1,893 registered members, 608 of whom live on the reserve.

Red Pheasant Treaty Days will be held at Red Pheasant Cree Nation, July 2 to 4, 2019 and includes a Rodeo, live music, Pow Wow, and more. The Repatriation Ceremony will take place on Thursday from 11am to 12 pm at the George Benson Memorial Pow Wow grounds.

  1. The Significance of Treaty Medals

A Treaty is a formal agreement between nations about sharing land and living in peace.  Between 1871 and 1921, Canada and Canadian First Nations agreed to eleven Treaties. First Nations people agreed to share their homeland, and Canada promised to provide for the well-being of First Nations people.

A Treaty is a binding statement of expectations and obligations. Canada acknowledges its promises with the presentation of Treaty medals. A Treaty is a covenant, a promise made in ceremony, between Canada and First Nations people. First Nations acknowledge their commitment with a pipe ceremony, indicating that the Treaty is a sacred promise meant to last “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.” A Treaty creates a permanent, ongoing relationship. All Canadians benefit. All are part of the Treaty legacy. The promises made by Canada are made on behalf of all Canadians and are binding on all Canadians.

  1. Manitoba Museum • Collections & Repatriation

The Manitoba Museum is unique in its combination of human and natural history themes and has been recognized for its inclusive portrayal of Manitoba’s history.

Collections: More than 2.8 million artifacts and specimens make up the Museum’s collection and are a rich historical and scientific resource for all Manitobans. The Museum has special obligation and opportunity to ensure Indigenous communities have access to the collections. The Manitoba Museum is honoured to be able to share the historical and contemporary stories of Indigenous communities in the province, stories that are at the heart of Manitoba’s history. The Museum has a long tradition of working collaboratively with Indigenous communities on exhibits which tell Indigenous stories. The Museum is committed to reconciliation and to an inclusive approach to the representation, presentation, and interpretation of Indigenous stories and experiences at the Museum. Developing and nurturing respectful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities is an institutional priority and the Museum values its role as a trusted keeper of Indigenous artifacts, and as a partner in the sharing of Indigenous stories.
Care of Sensitive Objects: The Museum provides a sacred storage space for sensitive and significant Indigenous artifacts, and has also welcomed requests from individuals and communities who have brought their precious objects to the Museum for safekeeping and respectful care. In 2017, for example, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation asked the Manitoba Museum to provide a safe and appropriate space for some of the meaningful objects gathered during the National Truth & Reconciliation Commission hearings. The Museum also welcomes requests for repatriation on a case-by-case basis for objects that have ongoing historical or cultural importance to living individuals, communities, organizations.
Repatriation: The Museum recognizes that, as a result of past acquisition practices which occurred before the Museum was incorporated, the Museum has come into the possession of certain artifacts and specimens that are good candidates for repatriation.  The Museum has made these collections known to the communities from which they came and has encouraged visits and conversations that may lead to repatriation of these artifacts. The Manitoba Museum is guided by its Repatriation Policy which requires the museum to consult broadly and openly with the associated communities to build a consensus prior to the disposition of artifacts.
Indigenous Advisory Circle – The Museum has established an Indigenous Advisory Circle with the intent to cultivate strong working relationships between the Museum and Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba. The Advisory Circle helps to support and promote Indigenous inclusion in Museum activities and improve Indigenous representation in exhibitions and programs, with a sincere desire to advance reconciliation, and address and build on the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

  1. About the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC)

The Treaty No. 6 Medal will be held at the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) in Saskatoon for public viewing. The Centre is located at 305 – 2555 Grasswood Road East in Saskatoon and is open to the public Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (closed each day for noon hour). Questions regarding the viewing of the Medal can be made to the President, Wanda Wilson at (306) 244-1146
The SICC mission is to protect, preserve, and promote cultures and languages of the First Nations people of Saskatchewan. Their vision is: Learning our ways, speaking our languages and living our lives as given by the Creator.
The Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) has served First Nations people since 1972. It was the first First Nations-controlled educational institution in Sasakatchewan. SICC strives to maintain the cultural identity of First Nations cultures inhabiting what is now known as Saskatchewan: Plains Cree, Swampy Cree, Woodlands Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakoda, and Lakota.

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