Indigenous Peoples Day

On Sunday June 20, we will take time at our Sunday Gathering to recognize and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. The history of SSUC-Edmonton is deeply connected with the Indigenous peoples of this region. Here we would like to acknowledge some of these contributions to our community, and the ongoing importance of this relationship as Treaty People.

Honouring the Land

We acknowledge Treaty 6 territory—the traditional and ancestral territory of the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and Nakota Sioux. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Regions 2, 3 and 4 within the historical Northwest Métis Homeland. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We are grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are still with us today and those who have gone before us. We make this acknowledgement as an act of reconciliation and gratitude to those whose territory we reside on or are visiting.

Our Roots and Interconnectedness

Our church is named, in part, after Henry Bird Steinhauer, Shahwahnegezhik (Ojibwa) or Sowengisik (Nehiyaw/Cree), meaning "Southern Skies". He was a Methodist minister, native leader (born at Rama Indian settlement, Lake Simcoe, c 1818; After an American benefactor named Steinhauer provided his foster name and funds, he attended Cazenovia College, NY, and Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg. He accompanied James Evans to the Hudson's Bay Company territories in 1840. Appointed to Oxford House in 1850, he was ordained by the Canada Conference (Methodist) in 1855 and sent to Lac La Biche, AB. In 1858 Steinhauer moved to Whitefish Lake, AB to found an Indigenous Christian community.


The sculpture situated in the circle drive in front of the building is entitled Thunderbird/Eagle, sculpted by Stuart Steinhauer. Born in the Saddle Lake area, he began carving in 1973 and by 1990 had decided to become a full time Cree artist. His sculptures in granite and his soapstone carvings have been exhibited in the West End Gallery in Edmonton, along the Sturgeon River in St. Albert, Canada House Gallery in Banff as well as in galleries in Victoria, Calgary, Stratford, and Saddle Lake. His work speaks of respect for the natural world and his commitment to his spiritual understanding of “the rock of the earth”, the Great Mystery. The Thunderbird/Eagle was gifted to Southminster-Steinhauer United Church by his mother, Margaret Steinhauer, in August 2003.

Elsie Paul joined Minister Nancy Steeves to share wisdom on the role of Elders and Ancestors in Indigenous communities, and to discuss what becoming an Elder has meant for her.

In 2015-16, SSUC commissioned local Indigenous artist Arthur Gallant to paint banners representing the Elder's teachings of respect, truth, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and love.

Friend of SSUC, Dr. Patricia Makokis, joined us for a screening of the documentary Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life. Before the film, she spoke about the history of settler-Indigenous relationships in our area, and the importance of treaty in that relationship.