The Lacombe and District Historical Society has received $7,500 in support of new Indigenous History Programming. The grant came from the City of Lacombe’s Recreation and Culture Grant program and will be the largest grant given out under the program this year.

“The project will basically better equip the Lacombe Museums to address Indigenous history of the region and to help us recognize that we live, work, and volunteer in Treaty 6 and Metis Nation 3. We're working basically to help the region create more significance for First Nations and Metis people. We recognize that there's a lack of knowledge in the present where we're sharing the history of that,” explained Executive Director of the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce, Melissa Blunden.

With that funding, the society will be putting their staff through training in preparation for their upcoming exhibition called Legacy of Hope which will delve into the topic of residential schools and their survivors.  

“Obviously, it will be a topic that we will be discussing every day in the exhibit space with visitors but also, we have quite a few school groups that have registered to come for tours.  It’s very important to me not only to make certain that we are doing it appropriately, but that I am setting up my staff and volunteers with the skillset to have those conversations and be the facilitator for knowledge in the community,” said Blunden.

The Legacy of Hope exhibition will be in the Flat Iron Building starting on May 6th and will be in Lacombe until July 16th. Following that exhibition, the Flat Iron Building will also be hosting an exhibition on the History of Medicines called Botany to Pharmaceuticals: The History of Medicines.

The training will also help to eliminate biases that may have occurred in the past when it comes to the museum’s collections, as well as ensure that the society is an equal employer. In addition to training, the society will also be ramping up their Indigenous programming in other ways.

“After establishing our relationships appropriately, we're going to be working on providing Indigenous based programming to the community. We hope that will include medicine walks both on and off our sites, interpretation of the native plants at the Michener House Museum and  the new heritage learning garden, as well as an exploration kit that will be available that will cover local Indigenous history,” explained Blunden.

The exploration kits will be able to be rented out by members of the public, homeschool groups, or anyone who wants to learn a bit more about the topic. Some kits delving into different topics such as drop spinning and wool working are already in circulation but Blunden hopes to create one in collaboration with a local knowledge keeper or Indigenous elder.

For more information on the Legacy of Hope exhibition, click here.