Edmonton is rich in ways to explore Indigenous culture. Take time with your friends and family to explore the many places in the Edmonton area that offer so much history. Here are a few of our favourites:
Turtle Rock Effigy Labyrinth – Located in Louise McKinney Riverfront Park, east of the Edmonton Convention Centre and south of the main parking lot, you will find the Turtle Effigy. This effigy/labyrinth was created in 2010 by Lea Dorion as part of The Works Art and Design Festival. You are meant to enter the labyrinth thinking of a problem. As you walk through the labyrinth, the twists and turns will guide you through thought so that when you step out, you will have come to a conclusion. The Turtle Effigy is a marriage of the traditional Indigenous turtle symbol and Celtic labyrinths. Lea Dorion did this to mirror the relationship between Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and European settlers.
Rossdale Burial Site – The Rossdale Cemetery is a memorial that was built to remember the traditional burial grounds located in the Rossdale Flats area. For thousands of years, this area was a gathering site for many Indigenous peoples, primarily the Cree, Blackfoot, Assiniboine, and Métis. The burial grounds used to be part of EPCOR’s powerplant site until remains were discovered and a section of the site was blocked off. The City of Edmonton, EPCOR, descendants of the traditional bands of this area and other community members came together to design and create the memorial. The site is a historic cemetery and burial ground protected by law. On August 2006, the remains found were reburied during a special ceremony, and the memorial was officially opened.
Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market featuring IAM – Indigenous Artist Market Collective – This is a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to get your produce and look through some of the incredible Indigenous art on display.
The Royal Alberta Museum – Now open – Since the Royal Alberta Museum’s opening in its new location, the Human History Hall has been created, showcasing the stories of the past and present in Alberta. The Royal Alberta Museum holds over 18,000 historical artifacts from various Nations. The Human History Hall is a beautiful representation of both historical and contemporary Indigenous stories in Alberta. The museum also holds the Manitou Asinîy, a sacred meteorite believed to hold great power and significance to many Indigenous communities. Be sure to book your visit in advance.
Indigenous Garden at the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens – At the University of Alberta’s Botanic Gardens, you will find the beautiful Indigenous Garden. This garden is full of plants, herbs and medicines used by Indigenous peoples for centuries! Be sure to take a walk around and look at the many story plaques outlining traditional plant uses, medicinal properties and more.
Indigenous Peoples Experience at Fort Edmonton Park – Opens July 1 – Fort Edmonton Park opens July 1st with many new & exciting features. Fort Edmonton has created the Indigenous Peoples Experience – a new signature exhibit providing storytelling, programming, graphics, media and more reflecting on the Indigenous peoples and culture in Edmonton.
Community Medicine Wheel Garden – Located to the west of the Edmonton Convention Centre, behind the old Edmonton Visitor Information Centre, you will find the Community Medicine Wheel Garden. This garden is located on the rooftop of the Riverview Room and provides stunning views of the gorgeous river valley. The garden itself is in the shape of a medicine wheel, a symbol that honours all four directions, medicines, cycles of life and animals. The garden was created in guidance with local Cree Elder Francis Whiskeyjack. The garden is filled with dozens of plants indigenous to the area, and medicines that the Indigenous peoples often used in food, for healing, and for ceremony.
Gardens such as this one are traditionally considered sacred spaces and this particular garden was created as a place intended for people to meet, share and connect.