TOTAL Aboriginal Interpretive Trail
The TOTAL Aboriginal Interpretive Trail represents an exciting new addition to MacDonald Island Park and a reflection of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo’s constant drive for innovation and excellence, as well as the provision of new opportunities for both members of our community and visitors to our region.
In a community where outdoor activity is actively embraced, the opportunity to redevelop this trail to encompass two public art projects presented an opportunity to engage community members in an entirely new way for MacDonald Island Park. This showcase of the work of western Canadian Aboriginal artists, local artists and regional school children is unique in the Wood Buffalo region and a chance to celebrate the culture of our indigenous peoples as well as the creative pursuits of our residents. The Sacred Teachings Project provides an opportunity for visitors to learn about these guiding principles of Aboriginal culture while enjoying visual art representations from both emerging and established Aboriginal artists. The Miquwahkesis Project allows visitors to engage with an animal synonymous with the Wood Buffalo region in a novel way: through the eyes of local artists and children.
The Sacred Teachings Project consists of seven three-dimensional sculptures created by Aboriginal artists. Three of the artists are from the Wood Buffalo region while the remaining four artists are from western Canada. The project is based on the sacred teachings central to Aboriginal culture. The seven teachings featured in this project are: Wisdom, Love, Humility, Courage, Honesty, Respect and Truth. Each artist was selected through a juried process and asked to develop a sculpture depicting their interpretation of the sacred teaching they had been asked to portray in visual form. The committee contributing to the development and stewardship of this public art project included representatives from the RRC, the Urban Aboriginal Society and Metis Local 1935.
The Miquwahkesis (mick-was-key-sis) Project, or “red fox” in Cree, was named by a local resident through a naming contest held in the Wood Buffalo region to find the perfect name for this community-focused public art project. Alberta artist Don Begg was commissioned to create two bronze foxes to commemorate the red fox commonly found at MacDonald Island and in Wood Buffalo. From these bronze foxes, twenty-eight fibreglass foxes were cast for painting by local artists and school children. These painted foxes are now installed along the trail to celebrate and memorialize the red fox, as well as provide interesting public art features for trail users.