Digging up fossils and rocks has been a passion for a Lloydminster resident from his earliest days and soon a collection covering the stories of western Canada will be open to the public at the Lloyd Mall.
Gerald Miller with Miller Promotions is bringing to life the histories of this region through his archaeological collections and artifacts and sharing the stories behind them.
The collector is opening Lloydminster Heritage Learning Centre at room 127 across from Urban Planet in the Lloyd Mall.
Miller says he would hang out with his grandfathers and listened to the stories of homesteading in southern Saskatchewan in a village called Mankota. The name being an amalgamation of Manitoba and North Dakota. The family came up from the States via Europe and they talked about life back in the 1900s.
At its height, Mankota had two banks and two lumber yards and still has a cattle sale which his grandfather started, says Miller.
So, why are rocks and fossils special? Miller explains the origins of western Canada from the movement of the various tectonic plates.
“Saskatchewan and Alberta – western Canada moved here. We were on the equator, that’s where the dinosaurs were, and we moved. So, we all split up – and we went north. So, we were stuck for a few million years way up north and when we were released, we are at our present location now. Then we became a sea because the Rocky Mountains were virgin Rocky Mountains. So, we are sitting right now in the Elk Point Sea area,” says Miller as he delves into a quick archaeology lesson.
Over millennia, the bones of the dinosaurs would go on to become the energy and minerals which fuel the economy. Miller says the sea was about four feet deep and he has fossils from that sea.
The Lloydminster Heritage Learning Centre will have a soft opening at the mall on Friday and be fully open to the public on Saturday June 10, says Miller.
Miller’s various displays also shine the spotlight on the First Nations who were the first peoples on this land.
“It’s powerful to see that Chief Poundmaker, the Little Pine chiefs and the Onion Lake chiefs, back in the day – we are going back quite a few years, socialized with Sitting Bull from the south. And of course they were moving the buffalo from the north to the south and vice versa. They would meet and they would go and camp in southern Saskatchewan,” says Miller.
Going forward Miller plans to set up a dig site as one of the displays for the kids. He is thankful to StartUp Lloydminster, Famos Consulting and the Chamber of Commerce for their help in his educational venture.