LAC LA BICHE - Alberta Culture Days was hosted at the Lac La Biche Mission Historic Site last weekend.
The event was co-supported by the Lac La Biche Mission Historical Society and Plamondon's L'Association Canadienne Francophone d'Alberta (L'ACFA). The provincial government provided funding for the event through cultural and heritage grants.
"It's a great partnership," said the Mission's executive director Christelle Shepherd. "It's great to be working with each other to maximize things with events inside and outside."
Workshops on genealogy, print making and stained glass crafting took place inside the Mission's visitor information centre through the weekend, and the Mission's historic church was open to visitors on both days. On the Mission grounds, overlooking the Lac La Biche Lake, a main stage highlighted the music and dance of the region's cultures, including performances by Plamondon musical trio Girlz with Guitarz and Indigenous dancers, while a vendors' tent displayed artwork and crafts from a variety of the region's cultures.
Randi Lynn Nanemahoo-Candline, a jingle dancer, artist and motivational speaker gave several presentations over the weekend that focused on Indigenous dancing, culture and history. Her presentations touched on topics ranging from the challenges of reconciliation and residential schools to family courage and the significance of the dance steps of powwow dancers.
She told an intimate crowd at the main stage on Sunday afternoon about the challenges her own mother had faced with residential schooling, racism and addictions. Her mother's strength to overcome the challenges and find strength through her own culture has empowered Nanemahoo-Candline to be the person she is today.
"I am the first person in my family to dance, and that is because of my mom, and everything she showed me. She gave me the courage to take that next step forward. And with my dancing I feel that I'm honouring that legacy that she left for me to keep going forward," she said, hoping that her stories and her dancing can help to educate all communities. "Sharing these stories with you guys and having these open conversations — it's not always easy to talk about , that's my way of paying it forward of what my mom sacrificed to raise me in a good way."
Her jingle dance stories and performances were coupled with Metis jigging from Paulina Kuznetsov and the music of Plamondon's Girlz with Guitarz.
"It's been just fantastic," said L'ACFA project coordinator Crystal Plamondon, who also emceed for the main stage. "Having everyone come together to learn and enjoy is wonderful."
Both Days of the Culture Days festival drew about 100 people, say organizers.