The Town of Okotoks has planned a number of events for National Indigenous People’s Day today that highlight the beauty, diversity and importance of Indigenous culture.
“It is essential that we recognize, honour and celebrate the cultures that are the foundation of this country,” said Deputy Mayor Matt Rockley. “It is through events such as this that we can all gain greater respect for the first peoples of Canada and begin implementing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
There are a number of opportunities for all residents to learn more about the people who have called this area home for thousands of years.
Residents are invited to learn about the Blackfoot Nation’s rich history of dance and storytelling through a virtual event hosted by Siksika Nation community member Spike Eaglespeaker Jr. Men’s traditional dancer Sayder Duck Chief, and women’s traditional and jingle dancer Teagan Rabbit Carrier are showcased, with Eaglespeaker providing insight into the history and meaning of Indigenous dance. Eaglespeaker will also share the history and significance of the Big Rock.
Watch it at okotoks.ca/indigenous.
The public is also invited to visit two extraordinary exhibits at the Okotoks Museum and Archives that illustrate the history of Blackfoot clothing and the reality of the residential school system.
A Century of Blackfoot Style is curated by Alyssa Koski and features a century of traditional clothing [1840-1940] worn and/or collected by her grandmother Pauline Dempsey, who is a member of the Blackfoot Nation.
The Little Moccasins exhibit on the second floor features a documentary film on the St. Joseph’s Residential School, also known as Dunbow Industrial School, northeast of Okotoks. Some of the shoes from the Okotoks’ memorial for the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops residential school are included in the exhibit.
A special program will be held at the museum June 21 at noon and will be live streamed through Facebook, so the public can participate while ensuring Alberta Health Regulations are followed. The museum is now open to the public Wednesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Town is committed to building a relationship through dialogue with the Indigenous community to ensure that Okotoks’ is an inclusive community that respects their traditions, history and culture.
(Courtesy of the Town of Okotoks)