From left: Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback, CP Rail senior vice president of operations Scott MacDonald, Louis Bull Cree Nation Chief Irvin Bull and Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw. Photos by Emily Jaycox

CP Rail officially renames signs from “Hobbema” to “Maskwacis”

Change acknowledges true history of territory

It was a culturally and historically significant moment for the four Indigenous nations of Maskwacis on July 4 when Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) executives came to the treaty six land to officially rename the railroad signage from “Hobbema” to “Maskwacis.”

Effective June 28, 2019, CP Rail officially renamed the CP station on its Leduc Subdivision to the traditional name of Maskwacis and the signage was replaced soon after.

The renaming ceremony and sign unveiling was held at Maskwa (Bear) Park, starting with a pipe ceremony before the formal speeches began.

Speeches were given by Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback, Louis Bull Cree Nation Chief Irvin Bull and CP Rail vice president of operations Scott MacDonald.

A representative for Montana Cree Nation Chief Standing on the Road was present.

Chief Makinaw says the renaming of the railway signs just further follows through with returning to the traditional name of Maskwacis.

Chief Saddleback spoke about how he didn’t know much about the history of the area growing up in Ermineskin. “Navarre” the name of a grain station stop between Wetaskiwin and Ermineskin, was just a train station to him.

When the Calgary and Edmonton Railway was built from 1890-91, communities along the railway line were named after the railway stations.

“Hobbema” was named after 16th century Dutch artist Meindert Hobbema, a landscape painter.

Now Saddleback wants to teach his children early on about the history of the area.

The four bands of Maskwacis officially requested the name change from Hobbema in 2013 and it was renamed in 2014.

READ MORE: Hobbema name change

Maskwacis is Cree for “Bear Hill.”

Chief Bull thanked the Creator for the day and all those who came out to the ceremony, and thanked the elder who conducted the pipe ceremony that morning.

He also acknowledged the grandfathers of the past that made an agreement with the railroad, that included an agreement that if the rail were ever to stop, the land would be returned to Maskwacis.

He added that a lot of people already know the area as Maskwacis and that it “follows suit with CP Rail doing the same, recognizing and acknowledging Maskwacis territory.”

“It’s our absolute honour to be here this morning,” said MacDonald.

MacDonald stated the acknowledgement of being on Treaty Six land and that the name of “Maskwacis” reflects the true heritage of the tribes and territory.

“We respect and acknowledge the history of Indigenous people and look forward to the opportunity for economic growth, development and employment.”

A sound clip of a train’s horn was played as the sign was unveiled in a humorous tribute to CP Rail, with the master of ceremonies joking it was CP’s anthem.

After the unveiling, gifts were exchanged between the dignitaries. CP Rail gifted the chiefs with blankets and the chiefs gave the CP Rail executives handcrafted beaded horses.

 

The unveiling of the new CP Rail sign for Maskwacis, to be installed July 8. From left, CP Rail senior vice president of operations Scott MacDonald, Ermineskin Cree Nation Chief Craig Makinaw, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback and Louis Bull Cree Nation Chief Irvin Bull, pull the blanket off, revealing the new CP Rail sign.

The chiefs, CP Rail executives and other dignitaries dance in at the beginning of the renaming ceremony. Photos by Emily Jaycox

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with wife’s murder

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 41, will appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on Sept. 18

Sylvan Lake Minor Football teams put up a collective 223-point shutout

The Lakers, Lions and Bears all had shutout games over the weekend

Sylvan Lake Terry Fox Run sees largest turnout ever

The annual run took a new course, starting at Lighthouse Park, going along Lakeshore to Jarvis Bay

Women’s Wellness Retreat and Wellness Expo returning to Sylvan Lake

The 16th annual event and its accompany expo will be held at the NexSource Centre next weekend

Three Sylvan Lakers compete at World Wake Surfing Championship

Sara Tallon, Derian Halsey and Hayden Becker competed in the championship in Utah, Sept. 5-7

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Outspoken Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger stepping down later this year

Imperial Oil is about 70 per cent owned by Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., since 2013

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Alberta spends $3M to hire 30 nurse practitioners for remote areas

Province has 600 nurse practitioners, but minister says most work in hospitals or outpatient clinics

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Most Read