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Royal Albert Museum returns Treaty 8 Medallion to Fort Chipewyan First Nation

A medallion given to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation after the signing of Treaty 8 has made its way home.

The treaty medallion was delivered personally to the Fort Chipewyan-area First Nation by Alberta culture minister Ron Orr on Sept. 6, after it had been in the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) since the 1970s.

Elder Rene Bruno, the oldest Dene member of the community, received the medal from Orr. Bruno’s grandfather was at the signing of Treaty 8 on June 21, 1899 in what is now known as Grouard.

All chiefs who signed Treaty 8 received a medal as a symbol of the partnership with the Crown; this medal was presented to Chief Alexandre Laviolette, who was chief of ACFN at the time. On one side of the medal is the face of Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch of the time. On the other side is a chief and a settler shaking hands.

This was the last treaty medal distributed to First Nations under the reign of Queen Victoria.

Repatriating the medal took 14 years and Adam said it was a difficult process at times, but said he was grateful Orr completed the process and personally visited the community to deliver the medal.

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