Aseniwuche Winewak Nation

The Nation

The discovery of coal in the Grande Cache area ignited industrial and residential developments that would shape the town and forever change the ways and lives of the Aseniwuche Winewak. The local Indigenous community was not consulted or invited to participate in any development decisions as we had no legally recognized title to the land. Many traditional sites, homes and gravesites were destroyed, triggering a legacy of loss.

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In 1970, the Province of Alberta and the Aseniwuche Winewak started formal discussions about the land. In 1974, Land Settlement Agreements were created under the Cooperative Association Act, allocating seven parcels of land totalling 4150 acres. Based on traditional family groupings, seven landholdings were established: Victor Lake, Grande Cache Lake (Kamisak), Susa Creek, Muskeg See Pee, Joachim, Wanyandie Flats West and Wanyandie Flats East. The path to establishing the Co-operatives and Enterprises was not easy. In addition to the forcible exit from Jasper, our People challenged two removal attempts from the Grande Cache area in 1912 and 1939.

Following the 1974 Land Settlement Agreements, Alberta subsequently filed caveats on the titles to stop our People from selling or developing the land without government approval. This created landholdings that are unlike any in Canada. The Co-operatives and Enterprises are neither Reserve, Metis Settlement, nor considered part of the Hamlet of Grande Cache. The lands must be held communally and cannot be owned or mortgaged by individuals. There was no cash compensation for land now used as provincial parks, the townsite or the coal mine. Each Co-operative and Enterprise is governed by its own President and Board or Manager, respectively.

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Victor Lake Co-operativeShirley Haggart, President
Grande Cache Lake Enterprise (Kamisak)Tom McDonald, Manager
Susa Creek Co-operativeBilly McDonald, President
Muskeg Seepee Co-operativeAlvin Findlay, President
Joachim EnterpriseLyle Moberly, Manager
Wanyandie Flats East & WestTom Wanyandie, President

Learn more about the history of the Aseniwuche Winewak and the formation of the Co-operative and Enterprise communities with our interactive timeline.

As the Town of Grande Cache continued to grow and living off the land became more difficult, social issues arose from systemic discrimination, lack of education and economic opportunities, struggles with culture shock and the loss of the traditional way of life. Substance abuse and suicide became prevalent issues in the eighties and nineties prompting community members to come together to formalize Aseniwuche Winewak Nation in 1994.

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In 2002, AWN became the representative body of more than 400 adult members. Youth and children are considered members through their parent(s) or guardian(s) until they are 18 when they can apply for their adult membership. Our members live all over western Canada with most of the community residing in Grande Cache, Alberta. About 70% of our membership live in the Co-operatives and Enterprises.

Today, our community members continue to face challenges with housing, education and employment opportunities, generational trauma, mental health, substance abuse, addictions, loss of culture and accessing the basic needs that are afforded to recognized Indigenous groups and all Canadians. AWN’s mission is to support education, programming and representation to build unity in the community by working together to preserve the land, language and culture. The sacred and important knowledge from our Elders guide us and the youth inspire us to make a better future.

How AWN Supports Community Members
Sihtoskâtowin · Supporting & Looking Out for Each Other · ᓯᐦᑐᐢᑲᑐᐃᐧᐣ

Social Programming

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program, Parent-Child Assistance Program, Trauma-Informed Care Program.

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Financial Assistance

For medical travel and funeral expenses.

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Supporting Elders

The gatekeepers and safeguarders of wisdom.

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Supporting Youth

and their education.

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Land Claim

An assertion of AWN’s Indigenous rights and land.

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Land and Resource Department.

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Wood for Warmth Program

Deliveries of wood to households in need.

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Cree Class

Learn Cree over tea and fresh bannock.

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Christmas Programs

Tell stories, share well wishes and break bread no matter which community we are from.

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Community Awards

Awards in memory of members who personified excellence in leadership, cultural preservation, and lifestyle.

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Connecting members

with the monthly AWN newsletter.

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COVID-19 Relief

Prioritizing the health and safety of AWN community members and the public.

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Citizenship Code

Learn about AWN’s unique people, history, legal traditions and circumstances.

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AWN's Claim

AWN's with a path towards negotiating our claim.

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Reaches our friends, partners and stakeholders in government, industry and beyond.

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Learn About the 7 Cree Principles

Fundamental to the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation.

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