Saskatchewan Examiner

Ottawa expresses regret to the Sask. First Nation for its involvement in the experimental colony

Ottawa apologises to Sask First Nations for its involvement in the experimental colony.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Peepeekisis Cree Nation received an apology from the Canadian government on behalf of the nation for taking part in the File Hills Colony Scheme.

On Wednesday, the Canadian government apologized on behalf of the entire country for participating in the File Hills Colony Scheme to the Peepeekisis Cree Nation.

The Peepeekisis Chief and Council, as well as several community members who struggled for years to obtain that national apology and be appropriately paid for the wrongdoings associated with the experimental colony, appreciated the apology.

According to Peepeekisis Chief Francis Dieter, “There were 18 Chiefs before me that played key involvement in this historic claim.”

The socially engineered File Hills Indian Farming Colony was a part of the extermination of the Cree people who lived on the Peepeekisis reserve.

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In August 2021, the community approved a $150 million settlement.

Although a resolution was achieved, many people still have unresolved difficulties with their identities due to the project.


Mother of two and elementary school teacher Sara Poitras.

Even if her family’s connections to Peepeekisis may not be obvious, she expressed pride in being a local, like many others with connections to the village.

During the event on Wednesday, Poitras said, “To the best of my knowledge, I believe Poitras is from South Dakota, but regrettably, I am not 100 percent positive where my family is from.”

Along with other community members, she discussed how she is coping with her traumas.

Poitras stated that she wished to teach Cree as her career in education developed but at times felt uncomfortable doing so.

Ottawa apologises to Sask First Nations for its involvement in the experimental colony.
Ottawa apologises to Sask First Nations for its involvement in the experimental colony. Image from iHeartRadio

She mentioned it as another aspect of her healing process that she will need to work through.

Because we are so entwined with the lands as Indigenous people, it is contradictory. According to Poitras, being removed from your ancestral grounds and relocated—just dumped somewhere else—is a loss of connection.

She and Keegan Montgrand, another young member of the Peepeekisis band, discussed their connections to identity as File Hills Colony residents.

My family is affected,… We don’t know if we still have blood relations in the native country of our family. We are referred to as placements here on Peepeekisis. Even though we were born and nurtured in these territories, we still feel like outsiders, Montgrand added.

Although we can forgive wrongdoings, we must always remember.

Source: CTV News

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