AMC Statement on the Exoneration of Chief Poundmaker
TREATY ONE TERRITORY, MB. _ On May 23, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to Cut Knife Saskatchewan to officially exonerated Cree Chief Poundmaker of his conviction for the crime of treason in 1885.
“The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs fully supports the exoneration of Chief Pihtokahanapiwiyin Poundmaker. Chief Poundmaker was a peacemaker and a hero to many Cree peoples and will now be honoured as such. Chief Poundmaker’s strength, determination and commitment to protecting his people is something we should all honour” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
Chief Poundmaker was insistent that the Crown uphold its Treaty 6 commitments, especially the medicine chest provision related to the provision of healthcare. Despite a targeted and unjustified attack on Poundmaker’s reserve in 1885, he asked his people not to pursue the Canadian forces and saved countless lives as a result. He was nevertheless arrested, convicted and imprisoned for treason and died shortly after being released for ill health.
Grand Chief Dumas further stated: “Chief Poundmaker’s attempts at peacemaking ultimately resulted in his death. It is incumbent upon Canada to make amends for this travesty, not only by exonerating him, but by honouring what he stood for – the implementation of Treaty 6. Canada has yet to fully honour and implement any of the historic treaties signed with First Nations.”
The AMC commends the First Nation leaders, elders, and community members involved in ensuring this exoneration happened today.