Descendants of Louis Lavallee were flown to the site where he lived until 1927. The Métis trapper was evicted when Prince Albert National Park was created. (Parks Canada) The great-granddaughter of a Métis trapper kicked out of Prince Albert National Park in 1927 says a trip this week to see the lake named after her ancestor gave her some closure.
Parks Canada flew Della Lavallee and other family members to Lavallee Lake in the north end of the park. The lake is named after trapper Louis Lavellee, despite him having been ousted from the land. Métis trapper Louis Lavallee and his grandson, Baptiste, sit together at their home. They were forcibly removed and their homes burned down by federal officials when Prince Albert National Park was created in 1927. (submitted) Louis Lavallee lived there most of his life, raising children and grandchildren in a trapline cabin. They included Della’s father Baptiste Lavallee. When the new Prince Albert National Park was created in 1927, Louis’s land was inside the boundary. The family was forcibly removed and federal officials burned down the cabin.
Della said her father spoke fondly about the site. Life was difficult for the family following the move. Della was apprehended by government workers at age five and raised in non-Indigenous foster homes. She was not allowed to speak her Cree language. Della Lavallee and her family visited the Prince Albert National Park site where her great-grandfather, Louis, was evicted (Parks Canada) Now 67 years old and living in Prince Albert, Della has begun researching her family history. She’s practicing Cree again. She started talking to Parks Canada officials about her great grandfather and the lake named after him. The two groups have worked together to piece together the history.
This week parks officials flew the family to the site. Della had never seen the homestead before.
"It’s just wonderful. It was a very moving experience," she said. Della Lavallee’s father Baptiste (pictured) and his family were kicked off their land in 1927 when Prince Albert National Park was created. (submitted) The group walked around collecting items such as an axe head. They prayed together before they were flown back to the Waskesiu town site in the southern part of the park.
No one from Parks Canada was available Friday.
Lavallee says she’s no longer angry at those responsible for the eviction. She hopes park officials will help others to learn about her family.
"It’s the past. You can’t do anything more about it," she said. "All we can do is forgive."
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