The McMurray Métis are now the proud owners of their own nine-acre land.
On Friday, Minister of Infrastructure Sandra Jansen was in Fort McMurray to sign the papers, making the sale, worth $809,670, official.
“You don’t have the sense of ownership on a piece of leased land that you do on a piece of land you can call your own,” she said.
Since 1992, the McMurray Métis has been leasing their land from the provincial government, however, all the buildings in the area were destroyed in the Horse River Wildfire. The original ask of around three acres quickly grew to nine.
President Gail Gallupe says the plan is to now build a cultural centre.
“Our vision has always been to have a museum in that area, we’ll have a place where people can come and see our artifacts, you’ll see our history, and people can sit down and see what Métis in large mean.”
The plan is to also house the Métis local on the land and have offices made for their industry partners – who are helping with their finances.
Minister Jansen says the province will also try and allocate some funding towards the project.
“The idea seemed very fitting to me, that they own a piece of land on which they can put a cultural centre. We look forward to continuing on with our conversation and talk about where we can look for funding.”
Right now, they’re still trying to figure out the design of the centre.
Gallupe says the only disappointment about the deal is the time it took, having conversations with a number of provincial governments, and remembering all the elders who fought for this and have passed away – including Elsie Yanik.