Heritage Sites Moment: Preparing Cunningham House and the Garden

I’m Celina Loyer, Aboriginal Programmer at the Musée Héritage Museum. My Dad, Gilbert Anderson, was the son of Celina Callihoo and Joe Anderson. Joe was descended from the Ft. Edmonton Métis, who had a very close association with the St. Albert Métis.

I am married to Darrell Loyer, whose Métis roots are recorded in this area for at least 200 years. Darrell’s grandmother, Clara (Cunningham) Loyer was a niece to Alfred and Emilia Cunningham. Alfred and Emilia lived in the Cunningham House on River Lot 24 in St. Albert.

In addition to doing my regular programming work at the museum, from time to time, I have also assisted staff with providing a Métis perspective for various projects that are on-going at the museum and heritage sites. I asked Darrell to assist us with putting the finishing touches on the Cunningham house, as he is a family member.

We have helped Joanne White, curator, to make some choices that would make the house “feel” Métis. With both of us having a Métis background, we can bring an authentic eye to the little touches that might distinguish a Métis home from a “pioneer” home.

We also follow a Métis family tradition of blessing the garden before it is planted each year.  This year we shared this tradition at the Métis river lot gardens before the planting begins. This is not meant to be a large public event but was a normal spring activity for each family.

We are all looking forward to seeing you on the river lots when we are safely allowed to do so. Keep an eye on the Arts and Heritage website for updated visiting info: museeheritage.ca.