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The Little Red

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Title The Little Red

The Little Red by Tim Lasiuta

From time immemorial, the creek has flowed.

Its life blood, the swiftly flowing stream that has ebbed and surged has both moved and has been moved through the gently hilled landscape.

Around it, the land has been home to natives and immigrants for at least 12,000 years and possibly as long as 20,000 years.   Migrating bands of natives had called this area home, using the rich resources of animal life and water supply to feed their people.  Summer camps, winter camps and elk/buffalo pounds all lie beneath what we now call Red Deer.

“…If Shakespeare were here, he might write sonnets…”

Cree legends speak of the Great Spirit and what we now call the Medicine Hills noting events we deem to be 12,000 years ago.

With the arrival of immigrant settlers and the exploration of Central Alberta by Thompson and others, the dwindling supply of buffalo and the breaking of traditional land into settler lots the wandering creek still brought life but now became a symbol of a burgeoning settlement.

Mankind has traditionally settled near water, and the hamlet and later town, and city of Red Deer did the same.  What was once viewed as a source of life was now a feature to be seen as an anchor to the wild beauty of the area.  Like the elders of the native tribes before him, Kerry Wood fought for the natural areas in his beloved community and his hand is obvious for those who look.

Creek and forest

We, as present citizens of the city of Red Deer, cannot ignore the legacy that the ‘keepers of the land’ left behind.

Pre-contact natives looked on this land as far as the eye could see and deemed it a blessing from the Great Spirit.  Great chiefs looked on this land as their charge, and considered it a responsibility to protect the land.

Farmers look on their land as their responsibility to keep and protect for future generations.

Modern day urban and real estate planners look on priceless natural areas as part of urban development with an eye to profit than to protection.

Once upon a summer day, I wandered through the Bower area and I discovered a treasure.

Turning  a corner into the east side of the green area by Bower Mall, the beauty of the wandering creek overwhelmed me.  The summer day sun just magnified the greatness of the area.  Birds sang songs to each other and the silence that encompassed the aerial arias was magnificent.  The sheer experience of the time was priceless.

All around me the might trees swayed in a slight breeze and the warm air flowed around me.  Looking north, south and east the hand of our Creator was obvious.  True beauty cannot be bought, engineered, nor constructed by human hands.

Such is the heart of the jewel that is Red Deers natural areas.

This area, as seen in the photos cannot be replaced by a bridge, walkway, or overpass.  In fact, the beauty of the area will be lost forever.

It is not hard to imagine that centuries ago young braves and their families set camp beside the creek and enjoyed life.  If you could listen to the past, you might hear sounds of campfire conversations, drum circles, singing and laughing.

More importantly, they, like modern citizens today, and myself on this day, knew this was a special place that perhaps was sacred for some and just a place of rest for others.

If Samuel Taylor Coleridge were here, he might compose Xanadu.

If Shakespeare were here, he might write sonnets.

If the Sons of the Pioneers were here with instruments, they might compose a haunting song like “Blue Prairie,” or “The Touch of Gods Hand.”

An artist might paint a moving memory.

Young lovers from all eras might declare their everlasting love to each other.

Yet, we, as a city, are considering its desecration.

Today, it is a reminder that we cannot and should not consider turning this priceless area into a traffic zone.

We should never, ever forget that our responsibilities to shepherding and managing the land must consider environment over people every time.

Take a moment, look at these pictures and ponder…..Bridge or beauty….

Tim Lasiuta is a local writer with interests in history preservation, from environmental to pre-contact native archaeology, faith and telling stories that matter in Central Alberta.  His work has appeared in Canadian Cowboy Country, True West Magazine, Mad Magazine, Alberta Venture, in published anthologies and Comic Buyers Guide.

You can contact Tim at [email protected].

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Honored Cree Chief Joachim Fromhold Passes Away

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Joe Fromhold at Ellis Bird Farm

Joachim Fromhold 1947-2020

Chief 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.

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From Night to Day – how a visit with our clinic’s psychologist changed Steven’s life

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From Night to Day

Steven had struggled with his inability to concentrate since he was 15 years old. This lack of concentration affected many parts of his life. He lacked energy, had anxiety and a social problem that kept him from being able to be out and socialize with people. He knew he needed medication to help him.

He had shared his issue with many medical professionals over the years but he never got the help he needed. He talked to the Nurse Practitioner (NP) in the Street Clinic and was so impressed that he listened and was sympathetic and supportive.

The NP arranged for him see the clinic psychologist and wrote a prescription for medication used for ADHD. From there Steven’s life has gone up and up. He says it changed from night to day. He has much less anxiety, feels more confident and his functionality in life has continued to improve.  He feels this help has been a really big positive change for him and he wants to credit the Street Clinic team for their approach to really helping him.

Dealing with Distress 

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august, 2020

fri07augAll Daymon17WALK TO BREATHE from Calgary to Edmonton(All Day)

thu27aug(aug 27)12:00 amsun30(aug 30)11:59 pmHUGE Garage Sale for Crime Prevention12:00 am - 11:59 pm (30) PIDHERNEY CURLING CENTRE, RED DEER, AB, 4725 43 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z3 Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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