Veteran and elder Marvin Littlechild raised the Treaty 6 flag at Red Deer City Hall Park on Thursday morning. Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Metis nation flags were flown at City Hall for the first time. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day in Red Deer

Red Deerians can recognize and celebrate the culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis on Friday, National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The City of Red Deer got an early start Thursday by raising six flags at City Hall Park: the federal, provincial, municipal, Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Metis nation flags.

Mayor Tara Veer said the flag raising is about acknowledging “our past, present and future.”

“It is a reminder that government has a responsibility to serve and represent all people equally,” said Veer.

“The raising of flags also represents our democratic freedoms. We are grateful for the sacrifices of veterans, and all in active service, who secured and continue to protect our freedoms.”

This was the first time the Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Metis nation flags, in recognition of truth and reconciliation protocols, have been raised in City Hall Park after a recent revitalization and installation of new flagpoles.

Also on Thursday, Red Deerians experienced Indigenous culture at the second annual Waskasoo Seepee Traditional Pow Wow was held at Servus Arena.

There will be a handful of events Friday:

  • Grand entry ceremony, with the Aboriginal Dance Troupe and Big Voice Drum Group at City Hall Park from 10 a.m. to noon;
  • Indigenous culture celebration at Shining Mountains Living Community Services (4925 46th St.) from noon to 4:30 p.m.;
  • Truth Awakening Love and Knowledge Indigenous conference at Westerner Park Friday and Saturday;
  • Community celebration with storytellers, dancers, vendors and artists at ATB North Gaetz Crossing branch (6794 50 Ave.).

A Grade 5 student from St. Martin de Porres School in Red Deer will receive an honourable mention for the Honouring Spirit Indigenous Student Award during National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The student, Alexa Houle-Stamp, will perform a jingle dress dance with two other students during a school assembly.

Kristie McCullough, the school’s assistant principal, said Houle-Stamp is a “kind and gentle spirit.”

“In a writing assignment, themed Museum of Me, Alexa inspired all of us by writing about her jingle dress and moccasins as important parts of her culture.

“She has taken the time to explain the round dance that she learns with her family. Further, in her quiet nature, she has shared how she enjoys smudging with a shell, feather and sweet grass,” said McCullough.

The Honouring Spirit Indigenous Student Award is given to First Nations, Metis and Inuit students who model strength and commitment in the pursuit of their personal education path and embrace own their gifts and potential while celebrating the ways of their people.

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