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Ponoka Stampede: Enjoy cultural enrichment at Annual Tipi Village

'We are also getting more awareness out there, helping people to learn about Maskwacis and First Nations culture'
The third annual Tipi Village will be open June 25 to 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. each day. 

UPDATE: Annual Tipi Village extends hours during Ponoka Stampede Week


For an up-close look at Indigenous culture, music, history, and more, check out the Tipi Village during Stampede Week. 

The third annual Tipi Village will be set up in the ball diamonds area located behind the arena, directly across from the Stampede Grounds, and will be open June 25 to 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. each day. 

The four-day event is being hosted by the Louis Bull Tribe with participation by members of the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, and Montana First Nation. 

Suzanne Life-Yeomans, Tipi Village project manager, said four years ago she was thinking how a tipi village would be an excellent event to feature during the Ponoka Stampede. 

“It’s a great event, and it keeps building every year,” said Life-Yeomans. 

“We are also getting more awareness out there, helping people to learn about Maskwacis and First Nations culture in general. It’s also for everyone — kids to adults. I want to welcome everyone to come.” 

From the start, support has been very solid. Local businesses, the Town of Ponoka, and the provincial government also contribute to the running of the event, she said. 

Life-Yeomans explained that on a personal level, the Tipi Village is important to her as she didn’t grow up in her culture. 

“I want people to see what a great culture we have, to pass it along, and also for them to just enjoy it.” 

There will be plenty for visitors to experience from exploring tipis, taking in teachings and a mini powwow to being able to check out several vendors. 

Other highlights include a grand entry, a pipe ceremony, greetings and speeches from elders and neighbouring First Nations, Indigenous storytelling, artwork, and culture. 

Visitors can also stroll through the area and talk with elders to learn more about Indigenous culture. 

Reflecting on past years, Life-Yeomans said feedback from visitors has been very encouraging. 

“They love it. People say that it’s beautiful,” she said, adding that musical performances including drumming events make it an even more powerful experience. 

“Also, when we do the powwow and the grand entry, we always include the audience,” said Life-Yeomans. 

In the time leading up to the Stampede, she’s been working hard to spread the word about the Tipi Village, she said. 

“I want more people to attend it, and to have fun!” 

There is no entry fee to attend and free parking will be available at the arena. 

“The Town of Ponoka is very excited that the Tipi Village event will be returning to our community during Stampede Week again this year,” said Ponoka Mayor Kevin Ferguson. 

“It’s a great way to experience the Ponoka Stampede and celebrate Indigenous History Month with our neighbours.” 

Ponoka News is your source for all things Ponoka Stampede leading up to and during Stampede Week June 25 to July 1. Find more Ponoka Stampede stories here.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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