(Members of James Gladstone’s family gather in Calgary celebrating a new $10 banknote featuring Gladstone, the first First Nation senator.)
APTN National News
The Bank of Canada joined members of the Blood First Nation in Calgary to begin circulating the new $10 bill that celebrates the 150th anniversary of confederation.
On the new bill is Canada’s first senator of First Nations origin, James Gladstone.
Gladstone was a member of the Blood First Nation and was committed to the betterment of Indigenous people. He was appointed to Senate in 1958.
“He saw it as an important position especially for a First Nation to be finally represented. I’ve always been proud of him and especially proud that he is honoured on this commemorative bill,” said Gladstone’s grandson, James Dempsey.
For the family of Gladstone, who died in 1971, this is a step toward reconciliation while bringing recognition of Blackfoot history and language to the public eye.
“After being appointed, he decided he was going to do his opening speech in Blackfoot. And of course at the time, the only two accepted languages were French and English. I would have love to hear the translators translate what he was saying,” said Dempsey while sharing memories of his grandfather.
The commemoration also includes the Assomption sash pattern, representing Metis culture, as well as artwork by Inuk artist Kenojuak Ashevak, whose work helped introduce Inuit art to the world.
“This note was built by Canadians through extensive consultations around the country. They gave us input and advice and this is the product of that brilliant effort,” said Ted Mieszkalski, director of currency for the Bank of Canada.
“This commemorative celebrates one element and the very key element of Canada, and that’s our history.”