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Bus ride from St. Paul hopes to draw people to Saddle Lake Pow Wow this weekend

A bus will be travelling from St. Paul to Saddle Lake on June 26 and will offer a chance for people from St. Paul to take in the Saddle Lake Cree Nation Pow Wow.
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ST. PAUL/SADDLE LAKE - An opportunity to take in a cultural experience just 20 minutes away from the community of St. Paul is being offered to residents. Saddle Lake Cree Nation will be hosting its annual Pow Wow on June 24-26, and Reconciliation St. Paul is hoping to encourage people to attend by hoping on a bus Sunday morning.

"I have often heard that St. Paul residents have never been to Saddle Lake Cree Nation even though it's 20 minutes away," explains Tanya Fontaine Porozni. "The late Herb Cardinal pointed this out at a meeting one time, and he asked those of us in attendance not to judge his people, Saddle Lake people, without having ever been to the reserve."

At that time, Cardinal had invited everyone to attend the Pow Wow "and offered to take us by the hand and walk us around and explain what was happening so we could see the beauty of a Cree celebration and ceremony, so we could see his people at their finest."

So, with that same idea in mind, Reconciliation St. Paul has organized a bus on June 26. It will leave St. Paul from the UFO Landing Pad at 11:30 a.m, heading to the last day of the weekend-long celebration. The bus will return to St. Paul at about 3:30 p.m.

"For those of us from town, it's an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and see how the First People of this land celebrate their culture in their community. Luckily, there will be one or two Saddle Lake Cree Nation members on hand to explain a little about what is happening at the Pow Wow and to answer questions about the many different dancers and their regalia," says Fontaine Porozni.

There will also be an opportunity to try some of the food available at the Pow Wow or bring home a keepsake, with a number of vendors on site selling things. 

The bus ride will be free, and has been provided by a local business, but a $5 donation from each rider is being accepted and will be donated to the Mannawanis Native Friendship Centre, in St. Paul. 

Only a limited number of seats are available. Anyone interested in reserving a seat on the bus can contact Fontaine Porozni by email at tporozni@gmail.com

Reconciliation St. Paul is a group that meets every second Thursday of the month at the Mannawanis, except in the summer months. The group's goal is to "build healthy relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people living in the area," says Fontaine Porozni.

"Often, we don't really get to know each other outside of school or work. Meeting to work on projects or having honest discussions about racism is a way to come together to get to know one another, to learn from each other and to heal. When we sit down together we can recognize our similarities or a shared humanity which helps create safe communities for all citizens."



Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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