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Park work with aborginals earns award

A Blackfalds area resident’s work at reintegrating aboriginal participation in Jasper National Park has landed him a national award.

Joe Fromhold, representing the Mountain Cree Traditional Band and Bobtail Band Descendents, was honoured alongside Terry Calliou of the Sucker Creek Cree Nation and Howard Mustus Jr. of the Alexis Nakoda Nation.

They received the Heritage Canada Minister’s Award for Leadership Excellence in Jasper on Thursday.

They brought together 36 First Nation groups with historic ties to Jasper National Park and formed the Nations of Jasper group to work hand-in-hand with Jasper National Park representatives on development issues.

One of the group’s first collaborations was to welcome the Haida Nation as an honourary member and bring a Haida totem pole of Jasper to commemorate the occasion.

This was accompanied by the largest aboriginal gathering in Jasper in recorded history and the hosting of a feast for 2,000 people.

Fromhold was designated as the first Head Chief of the Nations of Jasper and for two years in a row, he served in this capacity.

He was one of the last graduating students from Mirror High School in Mirror.

He became a bank manager and respected archeologist and historian.

He was the founder of the Native Cultural programs in Alberta in the 1970s and subsequently served as area manager northwest for Alberta Advanced Education.

Fromhold was most recently the discoverer of the Alberta Moundbuilder Culture, a 1,000-year-old agricultural village culture in Alberta noted for building temples and “pyramid” mounds.

He has published a number of books covering aboriginal culture and history of Alberta covering the past 15,000 years.

Fromhold has lived in the Blackfalds area for 15 years.

 
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