Canada has a long, intertwined history between its Aboriginal people and immigrant settlers who colonized the land; the Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum, in conjunction with Wetaskiwin Family and Community Support Services, is helping to bring one story from that history to the community.
On June 19 a screening of the documentary Elder in the Making is being held at the museum.
Elder in the Making is the vision of first generation Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Chris Hsiung. The documentary explores the history of Alberta’s Blackfoot Nation. The film is inspired by the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society — a group of people bringing the stories of Aboriginals forward.
Executive director and chief curator Karen Aberle says she has wanted to show Elder in the Making for a long time; she’s quite excited to bring it to the community, as it holds a special connection for her as well.
Approximately two decades ago ago, while attending the University of Calgary, Aberle had the opportunity to get to know the Blackfoot culture of southern Alberta and learn about Treaty 7. “I was so fortunate, 20 years ago, to have that opportunity.”
“The museum is here to share this knowledge,” she added.
Aberle says there are many misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding Canada’s Aboriginal people and their history, and for the museum, her goal is to create a space where as many of these stories as possible can come to life.
“There can be a lot of misconceptions. We don’t truly understand … outside of the reserve, what life on the reserve truly is,” said Aberle.
“I truly believe we all share this history, as Canadians,” she added.
While the City of Wetaskiwin sits on Treaty 6 land, and the film’s focus is Treaty 7, Aberle says the opportunity to learn is still there. “It’s a first step.”
“It’s weird that it took somebody new to Canada to want to learn more, and wonderful,” said Aberle.
The free screening will start at 7 p.m., and Aberle says there will be seating for approximately 100 people, plus movie snacks and refreshments. Everyone is welcome.
“I hope the museum is just packed. That’s my dream,” said Aberle.