A Saskatchewan First Nation on Wednesday witnessed phrases it has wished from the federal authorities because the early Fifties – an apology.

The Pepekissis Cree Nation opened its pow floor to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller, who granted amnesty after Canada pressured an agricultural colony on the group’s land between 1898 and 1954.

The File Hills Farming Colony acquired graduates from Saskatchewan and Manitoba residential and industrial colleges who got parcels of prime agricultural land with out First Nations consent or compensation.

To make room for the colony, the Pepiksis members have been evicted from their land. And people who labored within the colony did not get an opportunity to return to their First Nations communities.

“On the time, Canada incorrectly claimed that the plan would enhance agricultural exercise, however we now perceive that this was an experiment that was invasive in nature, an experiment in radical social engineering,” Miller stated.

Canada’s actions resulted in a lack of tradition because the federal agent working the colony restricted entry to land, restricted home visits, and forbade powwow, dancing and different celebrations, Miller stated.

“On behalf of Canada, I apologize for these actions,” he stated, additionally providing an apology in Cree, the language of the Pepekisis folks.

“They did quite a lot of harm to your group, your language and your tradition and we’re deeply sorry for that.”

These phrases have been Pepekisis Chief Francis Dieter, and the 18 chiefs earlier than him had insisted because the Fifties.

“(The colony) was a social engineering challenge that contributed to the genocide of the Cree individuals who lived within the Pepekisis Reserve,” Dieter stated.

Ottawa apologizes for ‘radical social engineering’ experiment on First Nation. #CDNPoli #apologies #filehillsfarming colony

He stated the colony was designed to delay the assimilation insurance policies that had begun inside Canada’s residential college system.

Dieter stated that about 7,700 hectares of land within the nation have been taken with out permission and given to the colony, lots of which weren’t a part of the First Nation.

He stated that about 3,200 hectares have been left for the 62 authentic members, leading to a break up among the many few residing within the Pepekisis Cree Nation.

Final 12 months, the First Nation agreed a $150 million federal settlement with the choice so as to add extra reserve land.

Miller acknowledged that Canada’s actions violated its obligation to Pepekisis and failed to guard the nation’s pursuits within the land.

For the band councilors and chief, their focus is now on the youth of the group and to make sure that they don’t create the identical divisions that plagued their ancestors.

“The lack of tradition contributed to the lack of belief and id by the band youth,” Dieter stated.

Sarah Poitras, who can be from Pepekissis First Nation, stated she will be able to relate.

The first college instructor stated there’s quite a lot of anger and isolation in her group.

She stated that her ancestors have been shifted to the colony and like her, there are numerous who have no idea the place they got here from.

“We’re from Pepekissis now, however the place have been we from earlier than? I envy individuals who say ‘I am from right here, I am from right here.’ I want I had that,” Poitras stated.

“Now I’ve a brand new journey. I need to know the place I’m from.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on August 3, 2022.

— With information from Kelly Malone in Winnipeg

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