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Exoneration of Chief celebrated at Poundmaker Museum

The life, legacy and liberation of Chief Poundmaker will be on display in an art gallery by the Saskatchewan First Nation that bears his name to celebrate his exoneration.

The art gallery will take place on May 1, which is a day before Chief Poundmaker’s exoneration by the Federal government. The legendary Cree leader was found guilty of treason after the Northwest Rebellion in 1885. The exoneration is part of Ottawa’s efforts in reconciliation.

Poundmaker Museum curator Floyd Favel believes there are different feeling towards the exoneration, but he says from an education standpoint it corrects history.

“I think it’s important in Canada that we start framing history from the perspective of Indigenous people because very often we have an opposite point of view of what’s been written and talked about in books.”

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“In essence what [the exoneration] will do is, we hope and feel, is that it leads to greater discussion and dialogue between our people and the non-indigenous people,” Favel says the false case of treason shows a century of misunderstanding between the two parties.

The museum will also celebrate the life and work of Tyrone Tootoosis, who Favel says led the groundwork to Chief Poundmakers exoneration. Also on display are paintings of Henry Beaudry, a dress from the Museum of history in Ottawa which was made by Mrs.Horsechild, and Chief Poundmaker’s gun and staff. Favel believes the objects displayed at the art show will lead to an appreciation for historical art within the community and surrounding areas.

“For our young indigenous people, it leads to greater self-esteem as they see that we have a lot of local heroes, currently, and we had a lot of local heroes. You just have to look around and see that people are making positive impacts within their own community.”

Last year, The Poundmaker Muesuem won an award by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. The honour recognized the facilities gallery space and indoor exhibits. The Museum sat dormant for many years due to structural damages before being revitalized for a re-opening in 2017.

“It led to a lot of positive development,” Favel says the past two years the museum has received a lot of attention. He believes the museum fills a local void in terms of tourism and history.

The art gallery will up and running for four days starting May 1. The  Museum welcomes all visitors from 9 AM to 6 PM on Poundmaker Cree Nation.

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