an indigenous elder wearing a blue jacket looks into the distance while holding onto the pole of a traditional indigenous structure surrounded by trees

Indigenous Strength

A Place of Indigenous Strength

The strong Cree, Dene and Métis communities here are rich in collaborative spirit and historical, cultural and economic importance.

Flourishing through economic participation that shows a path forward for the rest of Canada and provides strength to our economy. Representing two paths – tradition and innovation, bridging history and the journey forward. A place of deep culture and tradition that goes back millennia, yet tied to a place of extraordinary natural resource development. While honouring the land, Indigenous Peoples are foundational to prosperity here, through leadership, pride, and a return to the Indigenous way of knowing.

Intention

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo includes a large urban and rural Indigenous population. This website uses the term “Indigenous” respectfully to describe the original Peoples of the land, (First Nations and Métis) The term “Indigenous” has been adopted by the provincial and federal government and used around the world.

Treaty 8
an indigenous elder walks through a field of tall shrubs and grasses with trees and a cloudy sky behind him

Treaty 8

Treaty 8 Land Acknowledgement

With gratitude, we acknowledge this land is Treaty 8 Territory, the traditional lands of the Cree, Dene, and the unceded territory of the Métis people.

Discover the Language

Did you know? Michif is the traditional language of the Métis.

App

Gabriel Dumont Institute Michif language translator app - Apple Store

Download the Gabriel Dumont Institute Michif To Go app from the Apple Store.

App

Gabriel Dumont Institute Michif language translator app - Google Play Store

Download the Gabriel Dumont Institute Michif To Go app from the Google Play Store.

Download and use the apps to explore and translate into the local Indigenous languages of Cree and Dene.

App

ATC Cree app - Apple Store

Download the Athabasca Tribal Council Cree language translator app from the Apple Store.

App

ATC Cree App - Google Play

Download the Athabasca Tribal Council Cree language translator app from the Google Play Store

App

ATC Dene app - Apple Store

Download the Athabasca Tribal Council Dene language translator app from the Apple Store.

App

ATC Dene App - Google Play

Download the Athabasca Tribal Council Dene language translator app from the Google Play Store

Connect
northern lights light up the night sky over a lake with tree silhouettes on the horizon line

Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo has a Friendship Centre that offers a broad selection of programs and services to meet the needs of the Indigenous people they support—strengthening and building upon traditional values and culture.

Steeped in History

Life here celebrates time-honoured traditions, a natural and authentic way of life, and love for the land and water.

Records dating back as early as the 1700s highlight the Chipewyan and Beaver people who are indigenous to the Athabasca Region. In fact, recent archeological evidence indicates this area has been occupied by First Nations people for as long as 9,000 years. By the mid-1870s, many other people followed to make their home in the region, including the Cree, Métis and Euro-Canadians.

In 1788, a North West Company trading post was established on the southwestern corner of Lake Athabasca. Fort Chipewyan has existed there ever since and is the oldest European settlement in Alberta.

Indigenous people and culture are foundational to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo—and have been for thousands of years. Today, our region's strong Cree, Dene, and Métis communities are rich in collaborative spirit and historical, cultural and economic importance.

To learn more about the history of Fort Chipewyan visit the Fort Chipewyan Bicentennial Museum.

Reconciliation
an illustrated woman dances smiling with a background of a starry night sky, trees, body of water and black bird

Acknowledging the past

To build a better future

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada defines reconciliation as establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgment of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behavior.

Forward together
indigenous standing under teepee

Building forward together.

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is committed to listening, learning and acknowledging the true history of Canada. The region’s local government has set it as a priority going forward, and encourage everyone to learn more about their response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the path forward.

Collaboration
a young woman in traditional indigenous dress leans over holding the hand of a young girl in traditional indigenous dress in a field on a summers day

A collaborative pathway forward

This report outlines five key themes within the framework of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 10 Principles of Reconciliation, and lays out a plan, or a pathway approach, to strengthen reconciliation and continue this important and necessary work now, and into the future, for the region.

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is the centre of excellence for Indigenous business in Canada

Partners
a man in sunglasses and white tshirt drives a boat with jerry cans on the front and looks into the distance with a cloudy blue sky behind him

Industry Partners

Building forward together.

The oil sands industry is committed to partnering with Indigenous communities to ensure shared benefits, including economic growth, procurement, employment and training opportunities.

Partners
a man in a plaid shirt stands beside a rack of red canoes on a tow trailer, his hand rests on one of the canoes

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), between 2017 and 2019, operators in the oil sands purchased goods and services valued at $5.9 billion from Indigenous businesses. And in 2019, Indigenous companies in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo had direct business valued at $1.7 billion with oil sands operators.

Partner

NAABA

Strength, Unity and Opportunity in Business

The Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA) is committed to enhancing and creating an environment, which promotes business success and the engagement of Indigenous entrepreneurs in the region.

A Historic partnership

Suncor signed agreements with eight Indigenous communities in the region to acquire all of TC Energy’s 15 per cent equity interest in the Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership. This historic partnership includes Suncor, three First Nations and five Métis communities who will own a 15 per cent stake in this pipeline asset with a value of approximately $1.3 billion, which will provide long-term, stable revenues that will benefit the communities for decades to come.

The purchase of Northern Courier Pipeline will be completed by Astisiy Limited Partnership (Astisiy), which is comprised of Suncor and a partnership of the following communities:

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Conklin Métis Local 193

Fort McKay Métis Nation

Fort Chipewyan Métis Local #125

Fort McMurray #468 First Nation

McMurray Métis

Chipewyan Prairie First Nation

Willow Lake Métis Nation

Learn More about the partnership here.

Indigenous Knowledge & Stewardship

Engaging local wisdom and respecting the Indigenous way of knowing is an important step in our journey forward together.

Syncrude's Reclamation Engagement Focus Group (REFG) was formed to gain better insight into local Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) and to hear directly from people who are close to the land and the environment. Currently, the REFG consists of representatives from Fort McKay Métis Nation, McMurray Métis Local 1935, Fort McMurray First Nation and Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation, in addition to a group of Syncrude employees who represent integrated planning, community relations, operations support, and research and development.

Bison Viewpoint

Syncrude has reclaimed over 4000 hectares of land since the operation began. The Wood Bison project was introduced in 1993 when a herd of 30 Wood Bison were introduced onto reclaimed land in a partnership with Fort McKay. The number of bison has risen to 300 since they were first placed there.

carved statues of bison along a hill with rocks at the base

Local Businesses

Indigenous Artisans

You’ll find a diverse celebration of Indigenous art in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo. From paintings and sculpture, storytelling, dance, music and theatrical performances—art plays a strong role in connecting our community and celebrating our community’s rich Indigenous culture.

architectural rendering of a new community park

Kiyām Community Park

A downtown revitalization project, formerly Franklin and Main Park, has been officially named Kiyām [key-yam] Community Park. Kiyām—a Cree and Michif word meaning “Let it be.” Renaming the park was an opportunity to honour the region’s Indigenous heritage and mark another important step forward in reconciliation.