Committed to preserving, revitalizing, and strengthening Indigenous languages is part of the Municipality’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
What was once known as the Franklin and Main Park, municipal Council approved the official naming of the park as Kiyām [key-yam] Community Park.
With Kiyām being a Cree word meaning “Let it be”, a word used when you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings so no negativity can touch you. Naming this park in a local Indigenous language was an opportunity to honour Indigenous heritage and reclaim space, marking another important step forward in reconciliation. The naming was supported by the Wood Buffalo Downtown Revitalization Advisory Committee and recommended by the Community Identification Committee, a Council-appointed Committee that makes recommendations to Council on the naming and renaming of public facilities within the region. It was also the result of extensive engagement and conversations with Indigenous communities on an appropriate name for the park in a traditional Indigenous language.
The park opened to the public earlier this year and has quickly become a place to host community events. There has been the official raising of the flags, and for the first time in Wood Buffalo history, the Treaty 8 and Métis flags are being flown at the corner of Franklin and Main as well as outside the front of the government buildings on 9909 Franklin Avenue. It has also been a gathering place during the National Day for Action and Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. It’s also become the site of the community gathering to celebrate June as National Indigenous History Month. With residents taking part in tipi teachings and Dene hand games, the space provides the opportunity to come together, learn and share new experiences with one another.
Offering many features designed to bring people together in the heart of downtown Fort McMurray year-round, you can find several amenities that highlight the importance of Indigenous history and presence. With a Medicine Wheel rock garden, a tipi and plenty of open space to gather, Kiyām Community Park is also home to two unique benches, sister benches to ones in Anzac and Saprae Creek Estates. Public Art Wood Buffalo collaborated with the communities for their design, working with local Indigenous artist Amy Keller-Rempp and artist Kritsana Naowakhun as part of the Public Art Bench Program.