A row of young dancers performed at last year’s Indigenous culture celebration at Parkland Garden Centre in Red Deer. (Contributed photo)

A row of young dancers performed at last year’s Indigenous culture celebration at Parkland Garden Centre in Red Deer. (Contributed photo)

Indigenous culture is celebated at two upcoming Red Deer events

A traditional pow wow to be held Monday, while Parkland Garden Centre event goes Saturday

Two cultural events celebrating Alberta’s first people are being held in Red Deer as June is National Indigenous History Month.

The largest event is on Monday, June 20: The third annual Waskasoo Seepee Traditional Pow Wow which will be held at Red Deer’s Servus Arena.

‘Waskasoo Seepee’ is Cree for ‘Red Deer River.’ The pow wow is called Remembering the Children in honour of the Indigenous kids who were sent to abusive and repressive residential schools in Canada.

“A traditional pow wow is about prayer and healing. We want to share our unique heritage, and cultural knowledge with the community,” said Kelley Arnold, program coordinator with the Red Deer Native Friendship Society.

She believes it’s important to promote intercultural understanding between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Central Alberta.

The Red Deer Native Friendship Society will host the pow wow, along with Remembering the Children Society and other community organizations.

The event will feature Indigenous dancers, singers and drummers, and be held in two parts.

The first grand entry of Indigenous dignitaries, dancers and drummers will be held at noon, with events running to 3 p.m., said Arnold, while another grand entry will be at 6 p.m., with celebrations continuing into the evening.

There will be arts and craft sales tables, as well as plenty of food for purchase, including bannock burgers and other cultural delicacies, added Arnold. The Red Deer Curling Rink, next door to the arena, will be opening its concession, and several food trucks are booked to park in front of the Servus Arena.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is free, but a donation for the food bank would be appreciated.

Another cultural appreciation event, the Back to the Roots celebration, will be held Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Parkland Garden Centre.

The event will feature a teepee raising, as well as Indigenous drumming, singing, and teaching — including a sage smudging ceremony.

A vendor table will also be available, selling Indigenous beading, ribbon skirts and more.

Karen Hanvold, Parkland Garden Centre’s events coordinator, said this is the second year this event is being held in partnership with the Red Deer Native Friendship Society.

In light of the need for Truth and Reconciliation, “we thought we would do this to get people to celebrate and learn about Indigenous culture,” said Hanvold.

Everyone is invited to this free event. Donations can be made to benefit the Red Deer Native Friendship Society.


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Indigenous cultural groups