Cemetery project needs support

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A Grouard community club has asked Big Lakes County to fund part of a project to list and preserve the names of people buried in the Grouard Cemetery.
Grouard Seniors Community Club treasurer Monica Kriener presented the request of $36,222 to council at its regular meeting May 25.
“There’s been a lot of interest in that list,” says Kreiner, who is also co-chair of the cemetery committee.
A list of 1,234 names has been compiled of people buried from 1873 to 1994, she says.
The club requests the funds come from the county’s Grouard Culture Reserve that was created to promote the history of Grouard.
Creating a historical village was also discussed, club president Pearl Sandor says in a letter to council.
The club is requesting funds to download the names onto the website findagrave, which is used by many people who research their genealogy, she says.
“We believe this work will attract tourism to our region,” Sandor says.
“When people find their ancestors, they often want to visit the sites where they are buried.”
People who mow the grass at the cemetery have noted that almost every time they are there, some one comes to visit the cemetery, the letter says.
“People have come from international destinations to visit the Native Culture Arts Centre, St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and the cemetery,” Sandor says.
“With the recent publicity around unmarked gravels related to Indian residential schools, places like Grouard are attracting additional attention.”
Kreiner says the club is working with the neigbouring Kapawe’no First Nation on its project to research 169 potential graves found on the site of the former Grouard Indian Residential School.
“We want to take pictures of all the graves,” Kreiner says.
“It will all be part of the mapping project.”
Reeve Robert Nygaard says council will discuss the request at the next council meeting June 8.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux appreciates the work the club is doing.
“I thank the seniors for all that work,” Chalifoux says.

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