The United Conservative Party government, in its Speech from the Throne delivered this afternoon by Lt. Gov. Salma Lakhani, has promised a memorial on the grounds of the Alberta legislature that will “forever to remember the victims of the Indian residential school system”.
“We want first, respectfully, to hear what Indigenous communities think we should do, what kind of memorial it should be and then we can start to scale the budget,” said Kenney. “So we … haven’t fixed a budget at this stage because we want to finish the consultations.”
Lakhani opened her remarks by recognizing the “special relationship with the Indigenous Peoples … (and) rededicating ourselves to the spirit of the treaties and to the essential work of reconciliation.”
She then recognized Queen Elizabeth II for 70 years of “selfless service” and announced the creation of 7,000 medals to be awarded to honour Albertans during the Queen’s platinum jubilee.
Lakhani quoted the Queen, who spoke during Alberta’s centennial in 2005, “Your First Nations peoples inhabited the prairies over 10,000 years ago, living in harmony with nature – then, as they do now. By the 1800s, these first citizens, along with the Métis, were joined by explorers, homesteaders and railway workers from all over the world.”
Lakhani added that the Terrace Building on the legislature grounds will be renamed after Chief Poundmaker “to memorialize prominent Alberta historical figures.”
“That will be a wonderful tribute to one of the great chiefs who was a great voice for reconciliation and a bridge between First Nations and the pioneers of the European communities that came to this part of the world,” said Kenney.
Lakhani added that ammolite, “the source of the sacred Buffalo Stone, or Iniskim in the Blackfoot language,” will be recognized as Alberta’s official gemstone.