The Story Behind the Cover

“Celebration in our culture is very important and for the most part we do that through dance and with song in a community setting!

The story of our peoples, depicted by the symbols in the earth upon which she dances, is important to be told by us and no one else. Drummers sing an honour song which recognizes the heartbeat of our community. Stars and the river represent that we’ve always been in this area since time immemorial. Traditions are depicted here in a positive manner carrying our people and our community, through our youth, into the future….” — Frederick McDonald

About the Artist

Frederick R. McDonald is an artist and a member of the Fort McKay First Nation. Frederick followed his dream to be an artist by attending the University of Calgary and then graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree. While at university, he took on many challenges such as being the president of the First Nations Student Association and by joining other organizations such as the Rainforest Action Group, giving him insights to different modes of thinking.

Frederick was born in Fort McMurray and raised in the bush along the Athabasca River and was brought up in the traditional hunting and trapping lifestyle of his parents. A way of life that still lives inside him.


Despite travelling all over the world, Fred’s heart is still with his community. He has had many roles over the years and found that he really enjoyed being the coordinator for the annual Fort McKay Treaty Days celebration and the special role as the ATC Regional Gathering director in 2006. Always a leader, Fred served as the President of the Northern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association, and sat on the board of the Fort McMurray United Way and other similar board appointments.

As the CEO of the Fort McKay Group of Companies for 4 years, beginning this posting in 2008, he learned how to use his left brain more efficiently and says he saw firsthand how the corporate board room dynamics work. This has added another level of thinking when it comes to artistic perspectives.

Frederick has returned to being an artist because that’s where his heart has always been. He has had many exhibitions across Canada and has been collected by people and corporations from all parts of the world. His work now sits in many institutions such as the Glenbow Museum, The Alberta Arts Foundation, and the Government of Canada.

Fred loves painting, but has also taken to poetry and photography equally. Being an artist he says he has an esoteric relationship with the cosmos! But mainly art is an exploration of life, spirituality and history.

About the author

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