Manitou Asinîy, also known as the Manitou Stone, currently housed at the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM), is of great spiritual significance to many Indigenous communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The co-stewardship agreement, the result of more than a year’s work, outlines the Government of Alberta’s commitment to work with the Manitou Asinîy-Iniskim-Tsa Xani Center as it seeks to return the Stone to its historic location where it will be protected and shared.
The Manitou Stone is of great spiritual significance to many Indigenous peoples across Alberta. The Stone is believed to be a healing stone, it was credited with protecting buffalo herds of the northern plains. In 1972, the Manitou Stone was returned to Alberta from Ontario and brought to the Royal Alberta Museum, the heart of Alberta’s capital. Many Indigenous groups continue to hold sacred ceremonies and visit the site.
Since returned to Alberta, the Manitou Asinîy Gallery at the RAM was designed through engagement and collaboration with Indigenous knowledge holders to ensure cultural considerations were reflected in the space surrounding the stone. Alberta’s government is committed to being one of the financial partners and will be providing seed funding to support this project. We look forward to future conversations regarding the safe return of the Stone to its rightful home.
“Recognizing the great spiritual significance of Manitou Asinîy to Indigenous Peoples, Alberta’s government is honoured to work with the Manitou Asinîy-Iniskim-Tsa Xani Centre to return the Stone to its historic location, and to the care of Indigenous people. This sacred stone brought together Indigenous people from different nations, tribes and regions from across the Canadian prairies for thousands of years. It has a deep symbolic and historical connection to the buffalo hunt that was central to the lives and cultures of Prairie First Nations. After decades of consultation and discussion about how best to honour this stone and its special significance, I am pleased that we have finally come to an agreement that will ensure it is restored close to its original site, in a setting that will make it accessible for generations to come. This is a significant step towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
“For hundreds of years the Sacred Rock has been a symbol of Peace, Prosperity, Community and Hope for our People. We hold sacred the teachings of our ancestors for the generations to come. There is an undefinable truth in the experience of the Rock. It is like the work of hundreds of ancestors walk with us today through the efforts that have come before us. The return of the Rock to its original area is an important gateway to reawakening that sense of Peace, Prosperity, Hope and Healing for all people for our children. It is the right thing to do.”
“Our government is proud to continue to walk the path of reconciliation with Indigenous partners across this province. As a spiritual and beloved artifact, Manitou Asinîy is an important piece of Alberta’s history and shared culture. Alberta’s government looks forward to continuing conversations regarding the safe return of the Stone to its rightful home and ensuring the Stone continues to be cared for appropriately.”
Manitou Asinîy is a 145 kg iron meteorite previously located in the Iron Creek area of Alberta, near modern day Hardisty.
Manitou Asinîy, also known as the Iron Creek Meteorite and the Manitou Stone, is considered a sacred living being by many Indigenous communities and understood to belong to all Indigenous Peoples.
In 1866, a Methodist missionary took the Stone and relocated it to a nearby mission site.
In 1972, Manitou Asinîy was returned to Alberta from Ontario and loaned to the Royal Alberta Museum, and in 2001, was transferred to the museum.
Engagements with 33 Alberta and Saskatchewan First Nations and seven Indigenous organizations regarding the return of Manitou Asinîy began in 2002.
At the time, consensus was to keep the Stone at the museum as it was both safe and accessible to Indigenous peoples.
The Manitou Asinîy-Iniskim-Tsa Xani Center engaged with several Indigenous communities, Elders, and knowledge holders who regard the Manitou Stone as sacred to build consensus around the future of the Stone.
Reconciliation is a priority for Alberta’s government. As partners in reconciliation, we are listening to and working with Indigenous Peoples in Alberta to determine the best ways forward to a better future.