OTTAWA, May 2019 /CNW/ – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde participated on May 23 in the exoneration ceremony for Chief Poundmaker and apology by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the National Historic Site at the Poundmaker Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.
“Reconciliation requires an honest understanding of our shared history, so we can move forward together,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.
“All Canadians must know that Chief Poundmaker was a leader and a peacemaker who wanted a better future for his people. He fought for peace, not for war. He used his pipe, not a gun. Today’s exoneration of Chief Poundmaker and the Prime Minister’s apology are an opportunity to address a past injustice and correct the historical record. I honour the legacy of Chief Poundmaker and lift up the people of the Poundmaker Cree Nation for their long efforts to make today a reality. Without truth, there is no reconciliation.”
National Chief Bellegarde was invited by the leadership of the Poundmaker Cree Nation to witness the exoneration and to speak as part of the ceremony.
Chief Poundmaker, whose Cree name is Pîhtokahanapiwiyin, was a Plains Cree Chief from Treaty 6 territory. He was known as a peacekeeper and defender of his people. After the Battle of Cut Knife Hill, against government forces in 1885, he was charged with treason and sentenced to three years in prison. He was released in 1886 because of poor health and died later that same year.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.