The McMurray Métis releases its report The Moccasin Flats Evictions: Métis Home, Forced Relocation, and Resilience in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
In April 2018, we commissioned a report examining the cultural history of Moccasin Flats and the evictions, with an eye to the Fort McMurray Métis community’s history. The researchers carried out oral history interviews and archival document analyses to address the importance of the space, the events leading to the evictions, the impacts of the evictions, and opportunities for reconciliation.
The report notes that the New Town of Fort McMurray collaborated with Northward Developments Limited,a subsidiary of Syncrude Canada to evict the Métis families at Moccasin Flats to build the Syncrude Towers. By calling the Moccasin Flats residents“squatters,” the Town used property law to justify their eviction, and ignored the Indigenous identity, history, and rights of the Moccasin Flats residents.
The Moccasin Flats evictions are a traumatic and painful point of Métis history in the WoodBuffalo region that continue to have effects on the present-day community. The evictions have been identified by Elders and leadership of the McMurray Métis community as a research priority and a central issue for Truth and Reconciliation.
The report offers 8 recommendations for reconciliation that were told to us by the Elders who participated in the oral history interviews for the study. These recommendations are:
1. Compensation for Evicted Families (upgrade remaining trailer held by Freida Boucher, land transfer, financial compensation to families)
2. Commemorate History: Monument at Moccasin Flats and a Métis (Indigenous) Cultural Centre in Fort McMurray
3. Land Transfer: 4.3 Acres (i.e., Road Allowance)
4. Reconstruct the Snye Dike to Allow Water Flow (culvert or bridge)
5. Address Housing Insecurity by, for example, constructing a Homeless Shelter
6. Cultural Competency Education for Municipal Government and Industry
7. Further Research:
i. Archaeological Study of Moccasin Flats
ii. Mapping Study of Moccasin Flats
iii. Genealogical Study of Families who lived at Moccasin Flats and their Descendants
iv. Study of Other Evictions in the RMWB, such as at Waterways and Cree Flats.
v. Review of Municipal Bylaws for Discrimination
8. Formal Apology
TaraJoly, PhD and Hereward Longley, PhD candidate conducted the research and their report can be found here.
“The facts of the report are very serious. We are using the information in the report to ensure that those responsible for the unspeakable treatment of the residents of Moccasin Flats take responsibility for their actions. While time has passed the report highlights that the damage that these actions had on the Métis community is ongoing.”
- Gail Gallupe, President, McMurray Métis
“The Wood Buffalo Métis community has been talking about what happened at Moccasin Flats for over 40 years, since the evictions began. The long term social, economic and cultural impacts haven’t been fully examined until now. This report carefully states the facts of what happened. Our goal today is to share the findings with the families involved and community at large.”
-Bill Loutitt, Chief Executive Officer, McMurray Métis.
2018:Year of the McMurray Métis.
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