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Honored Cree Leader Joachim Fromhold Passes Away

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Joe Fromhold at Ellis Bird Farm

Joachim Fromhold 1947-2020

Joachim Fromhold of the Asini Wachi Nehiyawak has joined the Great Circle in the sky.

Joachim, aka Joe, was born January 15, 1947 to Mina and Willi Fromhold in Germany.

His lineage can be traced to 1650 (Cree Chief Sisip Pimotew), and Chief Louis Joseph Piche in addition to the Carolingian Dynasty (Europe).  He also counts Chief Bob Tail and his descendants as part of his ancestry.

Moving to Canada, his family spent time in Calgary before moving to a farm near Buffalo Lake and Sounding Creek in 1960.  He graduated from Mirror High School in 1967 and had been accepted into Harvard but chose to work with the CIBC and aboriginal groups in northern Alberta.  Through Joe, the first loans to aboriginal groups were granted in High Level prior to his resignation from the bank.

Always a businessman and hard worker, Joe built coffins (age 13), started a dairy herd while in grade 12 and bought into a trucking company, all by the time he graduated High School.  Around the same time, he established the first newspaper north of Peace River which was, and still is, the only newspaper to have been privately aboriginally owned and operated.  Fromhold also founded the first Alberta Youth Safe House dealing principally with aboriginal youth without government funding.

While in Peace River country, he began to actively gather data on aboriginal culture and history, a pursuit which he continued throughout his life.  He also helped establish the Metis Association of Alberta in northwestern Alberta.

His formal education in archaeology started in 1970 with classes at the University of Calgary and continued until 1973 with further education from Universities, Museums, Cultural and Business organizations continuing throughout his life.

Several cultural and historical organizations were born out of Fromhold’s desire to preserve history.  Archon Consulting Ltd, The Cultural Awareness Program, A.V.C., Buffalo Head Cultural Survival Camp, the Old Fort Museum, The Indian Legends Museum, The Vermillion Lodge Museum, the Mirror Business Center and Museum and the Mountain Cree Asini Wachi Nehiyawak Band in 1996.

Numerous other business ventures established by Fromhold included The Inner I Coffee House, Subway Coffee House, Paintball Warrior, Fromhold Security, Sports Rent, Old Fort Hotel, The Antiques Advertiser, The Red Deer Antique Mall & Collectibles and Rocky Mountain Outfitters.

Fromhold was instrumental in establishing the written aboriginal history in western Canada and beyond.  Through his genealogical research, published in various books and magazines, he formalized the presence and lineage of the Cree people, thereby paving the way for many legal challenges, many of which are still ongoing.

Active in the archaeology community, Fromhold has catalogued and identified important aboriginal sites in Alberta.  Among his discoveries is the presence of the Moundbuilders in Central Alberta on the Battle River, The Donalda Buffalo Pound, Medicine Hills Survey of significant sites and the discovery of the the existence of the Ice-Free Corridor, the existence of the North Trail and the Colville Trail, the proving of pre-Columbian cross-mountain trade, proving aboriginal occupancy and land use in the mountains, and demonstrating that various lithic sources were to be found in Alberta. In the theoretical field he established the methodology for reconstruction of prehistoric populations and developed the first Census data for prehistoric Alberta.

His influence and involvement in Northern Alberta was substantial, both in education and cultural preservation.

On graduating from the M.A. program in Anthropology he took a position at the Alberta Vocational Center in Lac La Biche (now Portage College) to develop a Native Arts and Crafts/Native Studies program there and at A.V.C. Grouard. These were the Grandfather Programs for all subsequent cultural programs in Alberta. In my position I was also an advisor to the development of the University of Lethbridge Native Studies program and liaison with the Saskatchewan Indian Colleges, and as a resource person to various aboriginal communities in eastern Alberta. Family ties existed with Beaver Lake Cree Nation, and he married Irene Mountain, daughter of Chief Lawrence Mountain and descendant of Chiefs PESEW and
Bobtail (Piche) and Big Bear.

While at Lac La Biche he collaborated with Christine Daniels to found the White Braid Dancers, served as Pow-Wow Director for 5 years and for 4 years as the first aboriginal President of the Lac La Biche Lions Club. During that time he also re-introduced the Pow-wow to Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Cultural Days to Heart Lake First Nation and were involved in the development of the Saddle Lake Multi-Cultural Days.

At this time he founded the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society to sponsor cultural events and two dance groups. With his wife we also established the first Wilderness Cultural Camp in Alberta.

In 1985 he took a position with Alberta Advanced Education as Program Head of the Opportunity Corps Program, a second-chance training program, in northwestern Alberta. At the time the program consisted of one pre-trades training campus, it being part of his duties to develop a second campus to the point where it could be turned into a community college. The campuses were to serve 16 aboriginal and 4 non-aboriginal communities. Through internal training programs they developed highly skilled office personnel who began to take over and effectively and efficiently manage the office administration of a $15,000,000 (2010 dollars) operation and through another similar program operated several cafeterias in several communities.

Over the next few  years the position became responsible for delivery and supervision of all programs delivered by Advanced Education, including Apprenticeship and Transitional Housing. In 1988 the campuses were re-classified as a college and a satellite campus.

In this time he was also involved in the development of the High Level and District Friendship Center, the High Level and District Museum and the Fort Vermilion Museum. We also initiated annual pow-wows at High Level and Fort Vermilion and developed a touring dance troupe that traveled to regional schools and sponsored annual Native Fashion Shows based on the family collection.

Fromhold began the work to convert his research into digital format for his world class native history website, http://inewhistory.com/ , an effort which continued to his passing.

With the death of his wife Irene in 1994 he relocated to central Alberta to concentrate on raising his children and developing the databank. Over the years they had taken in nephews and nieces to give them a stable home environment, and he now adopted two others who were in danger of becoming street kids in Edmonton; they returned to school and eventually continued on to college and university.
In 1996 the Mountain Peoples Cultural Society converted to becoming a Traditional Band, and Joe was delegated by the family to represent the interests of descendants of Lawrence and Leo Mountain. Descendants of two other brothers also consolidated, the four bands forming a common council.

Fromhold and the Band proposed to the City of Edmonton and investment of  $20 million in a transition to employment and housing program for the homeless and disadvantaged in Edmonton in 2006.

Through the efforts of Fromhold in 2008, the  Mountain Cree Band (Asini Wachi Nehiyawak) became a member of the Jasper National Park Aboriginal Forum advisory group, as a successor group representing the interests of the now-dispersed Bobtail Band. Independent of the Advisory group, he offered to participate financially in the development of a Nations of Jasper Cultural Interpretive Center. Participation in Jasper continues to this day with the Pow wow and placement of aboriginals in park positions.

Fromhold’s books on aboriginal history in Alberta started in 2010 through Lulu.com.  To date there are more than 40 books available, ranging from the Moundbuilders, to a history of the Red Deer/Central Alberta area dating back 13,000 years to genealogies for specific bands.  Prior to his passing, Fromhold had planned as many as 20 more.

In 2011, he was awarded the Canada Heritage Minister’s Award for Leadership Excellence.

He was honored in 2012 with an Honoring Ceremony by members of the incipient re-structuring Edmonton Stragglers Band in appreciation of the guidance given to the members in pursuit of their history and interests.


He was a founding member of the Alberta Association of Consulting Archaeologists and in 2017 was the founder for the Association of First Nations Archaeologists and Historians.

The Asini Wachi Nehiyawak purchased and renovated a former bunk house in Mirror, creating a museum, antique store and rooms for short term stays in the community.  Along with the commercial aspects, all records of the Mountain Cree were available for research.  Presently, a constitutional challenge is outstanding on the property.

Fromhold was involved with Enoch Cree Nation in legal action to settle outstanding land claims and to protect historic burials in the Rossdale Burial Area of Edmonton, a dispute dating back nearly a decade.  The efforts to protect native heritage and cultural sites continues to this day.

Other ongoing efforts include working with Lacombe to develop a cultural centre, preservation of Mound Builder sites, site preservation in Red Deer (multiple), and relationships with Transalta, TC Energy and various energy companies. Many other discoveries and historic sites are waiting to be protected by future generations due to his passion and knowledge.

Fromhold, throughout his career, attracted many gifted associates and was once tasked with guiding Richard Leakey on a tour of Alberta.  While the two archaeologists shared many observations, Leakey pointed out to Joachim numerous sites that exhibited evidence of human occupation, some dating back 100,000 years in Central Alberta!

In conversation with Joe, his skills as an archaeologist were continually developing.  He noted that ‘over the last few years, I have now learned to recognize flint knap sites,’ adding that like camp sites, every few miles on old trail, he could locate them.  He lamented not knowing that that as a young researcher, realizing that he had passed over thousands in his career.  During a Red Deer connector survey, he discovered a knap site that was possibly (likely) evidence of a campsite for David Thompson during his exploration of Central Alberta.

He started the Mountain Cree News in the late 1990s, and the monthly newsletter continues to this day.

The legacy he leaves behind is one of people: people he inspired to take an interest in their history, people he inspired to better themselves, and people he impowered to make our society into one that recognizes the value of the history of our country and early inhabitants.

Joe leaves behind children Dustin, Odin, Jennifer, mother Mina and many others he mentored into a better life.

Rest well warrior.

This article was originally published on August 5th, 2020.

Read more from Tim Lasiuta.

Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Downtown Business Spotlight: Tribe

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This week’s Business Spotlight shines on Tribe! This unique restaurant is located right on Ross Street (4930 Ross Street) and offers a menu inspired from places all around the world. We sat down with manager, Brandon Bouchard, to learn more!

What is your business?

Tribe is a restaurant and bar located in the heart of Red Deer’s downtown on the Ross St Patio.

When did your business open?

Our space has been open for roughly 4 years. In that time we’ve expanded and doubled in square footage and also tripled our staff.

What makes your business unique?

We believe we have the “sexiest” room in town. Our guests are often commenting positively on the space and how much they love the warm ambiance. “There’s no other place like this in Red Deer”, “I feel like I’m in another city”, or just “Wow” are the words we hear the most. Our “Modern World Food” is very popular and is inspired from regions around the globe. And one of the main reasons we continue to remain a hot spot in the downtown, we believe, is our staff. Our team is absolutely amazing. Friendly, funny, and flirty… the staff’s number one focus is the guest experience and it shows. Our room is often filled with laughter and huge smiles. Our goal is that no one leaves hungry, and everyone leaves happy!

Our slogan is “Eat a Little. Drink a Little. Flirt a Little. Tell Your Most Awesome Stories.”

What are some products/services that you offer?

Aside from the obvious dine-in and takeout options we also offer private party bookings and can typically cater to groups of easily 40-50 guests. We also offer the occasional theme or event nights such as Tapas nights, Wine Tasting events, Holiday Parties and more!

Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?

Tribe, as well as it’s sister store Sunwork’s Living, are located downtown because Red Deer’s downtown is the place to be! To be surrounded by so many other unique shops and businesses makes being in the area a truly wonderful experience and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

In order for any downtown to be vibrant, the citizens need to occupy that space. With the growing number of retail shops, restaurants and bars, and other services that can be found in the area it’s no wonder folks are visiting the downtown more than ever. Shopping local and supporting small businesses is important now more than ever and with endless locally owned businesses in the area it’s no wonder we are seeing more vibrancy in the area, and we believe this trend will continue to attract NEW businesses downtown.

I love Downtown Red Deer because… most everything you might need or want can be found in one attractive and exciting neighbourhood, and your friends are probably there too.

Looking for some “Modern World Food” for dinner or maybe looking at attending one of their event nights? Check out Tribe’s social media pages and website for more information!

Website: http://tribeflatout.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tribeflatout/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tribeflatout/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tribeflatout

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Penhold Flight Instructor Releases Updated Instruction Manual For the 21st Century

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Sky Wings Aviation founder Dennis Cooper lives to fly.

“2020 marks 50 years of flying for me,” said Cooper in a phone interview.  “I was a cadet and part of the glider program but got my pilots license in 1971 at Cold Lake before I even had my drivers license.”

Cooper later earned his Commercial license under Cecil Sorenson and other seasoned ex-Canadian Air Force pilots who transferred their tremendous knowledge base.  Working with Johnson Air Services and Pultz Aviation, he obtained his instrument rating and began his pilot career in earnest.

“One of the tools I had as a young pilot was the Pultz Instructor Manual and sometimes he (Pultz) would ask me questions and I would offer input,” he remembered.  “The original book was a 3-ring binder and we used that format for a long time at Sky Wings as well.”

Fast forward to the present.

“With current technology, many of our students wanted the manual in an electronic form so now instead of just having a softcover book that gets scuffed, dirty and ripped we now have a hardcover AND an electronic version for use everywhere,” added the instructor.  “Since the original book was written, much had changed.”

Changes to the original include an index which the first book did not have according to Cooper, modified levels of instructors, GPS information which did not exist years ago, procedures and general knowledge brought about by technology.

“We kept the artwork from the original,” said Cooper.  “It’s great and captures what we wanted.  We also added enhanced study and review questions based on feedback from students who have been through testing. The result is now a 558 page Instructors Manual that can follow a pilot from the beginning of their career to their end goal, no matter what that looks like.”

The new updated manual can be used in conjunction with Transport Canada publications.  It can adequately prepare a commercial pilot for the Transport Canada Flight Instructor written examination, the in-flight training and ground instruction, as well as the test flight.

Priced at $99 for the hardcover and $90 for the softcover, the “Cooper Flight Instructor Manual” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo and 3 flight suppliers at present.

“I bought Sky Wings Aviation in 1982 and even today I still feel the same when a new student flies for the first time.  I am excited when our students enter the plane, travel the runway and rise into the air for the first time for their first circuit, then return,” said Cooper whose wife Sherry also teaches at the school.  “I enjoy watching the transfer of knowledge from instructor to student, but most significantly, watching them conquer the air just like the Wright Brothers 118 years ago.”

Cooper is not finished yet with 3 more books ready to rewrite for the 21st century.

For more information on Sky Wings Aviation and the 9th Edition of the Cooper Flight Instructors Manual, go to:

Home – Skywings Aviation

 

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