Members of Wood Buffalo’s council are committing to ensure the past events at Moccasin Flats are recognized.
In the late 1970’s early 1980’s, Indigenous residents were forced from their home along the Clearwater and Athabasca junction to help further develop the urban service area. The area is now home to the Syncrude Towers.
It’s been over a year since the report on Moccasin Flats was released.
Councillor Verna Murphy tells Mix News they understand it’s been frustrating waiting for answers, however, they’ve done everything they can at this moment.
“This mayor and council, I will defend them until my dying breath on how we’ve handled this situation because we have owned it, we have brought it into chambers, we’ve had the discussions, we’ve brought it to the province, we’ve brought it to the federal level.”
On Wednesday, CEO of McMurray Métis Bill Loutitt directly addressed Mayor Don Scott on the issue – during the RMWB’s Truth and Reconciliation Sharing Circle. There, he demanded an apology and action.
“We’ve got the truth. Now we want to see reconciliation,” Loutitt said. “This is where council is dragging their feet. We’ve seen this before when we were before council and they voted against stuff that they’d support if it were a white group and if it’s native, there are certain councillors who vote against us.”
Murphy says this claim is simply wrong and offensive.
“If anything, this mayor and council have worked harder on that particular issue then anybody else in the history of the municipality. It’s disappointing to us that it takes time to get things done.”
Murphy, whose daughter has Indigenous status, believes the municipality has improved their relationship tenfold with the Indigenous communities over the last few years.
This includes projects such as the Fort McKay Area Structure Plan.
Meanwhile, in a statement sent to Mix News, Mayor Don Scott says he’s promising to have an update on the matter within the next 60 days.
“Our council is committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation on the issue of Moccasin Flats,” he said. “I am reaching out to Mr. Loutitt and the McMurray Métis Board to gather further ideas. All of my council colleagues have a strong commitment to our Indigenous partners in the region, and I support their hard work and commitment.”
The McMurray Métis are hoping to see a land transfer be a part of the reconciliation over this past injustice.