Creator’s Stone meteorite to be returned to historic site after more than 150 years – Chilliwack Progress


After years of negotiations, the Alberta government on Friday signed an agreement with a First Nations group pledging to return an ancient meteorite to its historic location after being moved for more than 150 years.

Manitou Asinîy, also known as the Creator’s Stone or Manitou Stone, is a 145-kilogram iron meteorite that landed near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border near present-day Hardisty, Alberta, there billions of years old.

The brown-colored stone weighs about the same as a white-tailed deer and is the size of a large tire.

The stone has spiritual significance to the native peoples of the prairies and was thought to have healing properties and protect bison herds.

The stone was taken in the late 1860s by the Reverend George McDougall, who attempted to use it to attract native people to Christianity. He was then sent to Victoria Methodist College in Ontario.

When the stone was taken by McDougall, Native spiritual leaders prophesied disease and famine which soon materialized with the introduction of smallpox and the slaughter of buffalo herds by the colonizers.

The Royal Ontario Museum displayed the stone until 1972, when it was loaned on long-term to the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton.

Consultations between the museum and indigenous groups about the fate of the stone began in 2002.

Elder Leonard Bastien said the stone’s return is important in awakening a sense of peace, prosperity, hope and healing for all.

“It is my hope, my faith and my belief that tomorrow will be better for us,” he said.

Bastien is president of the Center Manitou Asinîy-Iniskim-Tsa Xani, the group that has engaged with several communities and Indigenous elders to build consensus around the future of stone.

At the ceremony, Premier Jason Kenney spoke of his first discovery of the stone in a history book several years ago.

“It does not and should not belong to the Government of Alberta,” Kenney said. “He belongs and must belong to the First Nations of these lands.”

Kenney said the Stone’s return marks a deeply meaningful moment of reconciliation.

Bastien praised Kenney for his actions to repatriate the stone. “You moved mountains for us.”

A geodesic dome designed by Aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal will be the new home of stone and serve as a prayer center. The structure will be built over the next two years and will cost between $7.5 million and $10 million.

Blaine Favel, former chief of the Poundmaker Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, said they were in the process of negotiating final lands and funding had started coming in from corporate donors.

Favel said the prayer center will help preserve culture and traditions for future generations.

The Royal Alberta Museum will continue to house and care for the stone until the center is built.

Hardisty, Alberta is about 200 kilometers southeast of Edmonton.



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