September 15, 2018
Many gathered today, September 15, 2018, to celebrate the grand opening of Queen Elizabeth Park and Edmonton’s first Indigenous Arts Park ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞, nestled centrally in the river valley.
“ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ is an important landmark in our river valley that will help Edmontonians understand and appreciate the history of this land,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “This permanent showcase of Indigenous art in the heart of our city celebrates our diversity while strengthening our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians.”
Edmonton is home to Canada’s second-largest urban Indigenous community, and for centuries this site has been a place of gathering, relationship-building and commerce for many peoples.
“The profound legacy left by our Kôhkominawak (our Grandmothers) and Kimosôminawak (our Grandfathers) is one of the sacred areas used to cross Kisiskâcêwansîpî (Saskatchewan River), where many ceremonies and rituals took place before crossing this majestic sanctuary,” says Plains Cree Elder Jerry Saddleback, Art Park Steering Committee Member. “Our original peoples of this area held sacred knowledge that gave them a close spiritual relationship with our Mother Earth deity. She is called the sacred river, as with all water of the Earth, Her own breast milk, nurturing all of humanity.”
“The Métis Nation of Alberta commends the City of Edmonton and Mayor Don Iveson for projects such as the first-ever curated Indigenous Art Park; symbolizing the dedication and commitment from the City of Edmonton to truth and reconciliation with the Indigenous people.” - Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation of Alberta.
Creating a vibrant riverfront, this new park improves connections in the river valley system, encouraging walking and biking. It also establishes this place as an outdoor destination with beautiful views - the permanent art installations included.
A feature unique to this City park is the Indigenous Arts Park named ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ and curated by Candice Hopkins. In partnership with the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Arts Council directs the City's Percent for Art policy, and provides vision for and stewardship of the City of Edmonton Public Art Collection.
“ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞ reinforces the Indigenous presence, which has been part of this place for millennia,” says Sanjay Shahani, Edmonton Arts Council Executive Director. “These artworks express the vitality and scope of Indigenous cultural practice at the heart of Canada’s contemporary identity. The artworks also reveal an Indigenous worldview that honours the environment and the land, and the dignity of each creature living upon it.”
Implementation of Phase Two, a $5.3 million project within the overall Queen Elizabeth Park Master Plan, was made possible in part with a contribution of $500,000 that the City of Edmonton received from Western Economic Diversification Canada through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support the Indigenous Arts Park ᐄᓃᐤ (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11∞, which displays the vitality of Indigenous culture and memorializes the story and legacy of this place. This park is a valuable addition to the community, as it will give Edmonton residents a recreation area that enhances engagement in local Indigenous arts and culture.” - Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues.
The Queen Elizabeth Park Master Plan was approved by City Council in the summer of 2013 and was created to guide phased development of the park over a ten-year period. Improvements to this park area make it a more accessible, welcoming place for all to gather and enjoy.
The park was designed by Stantec and constructed by PCL.