Morinville event celebrates ReconciliACTION

Above: Alexandra Yellowbird demonstrates Women’s Fancy dance style at the National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in Morinville on Friday, June 21. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Alexander First Nation Chief George Arcand Jr. speaks to attendees at the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in Morinville on Friday, June 21. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

Morinville students and residents gathered at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre on National Indigenous Peoples Day to learn and share.

The event, held Friday, June 21, included an informal TeePee teaching session outside ahead of a formal program that included drumming, singing, dancing and an explanation of the dance styles and regalia worn by the dancers, as well as the importance and significance of the drum in Indigenous culture.

Alexander First Nation Chief George Arcand Jr.’s address to attendees was a powerful reminder of the importance of learning. His focus was on promoting community understanding and sharing Indigenous teachings.

Chief Arcand emphasized the cultural significance of drumming, describing it as a spiritual and communicative tradition.

“It’s always been the way for us to communicate. It’s always been a way for us to show our relationships, to show how we undertake certain things,” Chief Arcand explained. “In fact, making a drum is really quite a spiritual experience for people.”

Arcand expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to work with the town to build educational and economic relationships.

Morinville Deputy Mayor Jenn Anheliger emphasized the importance of community and shared learning between the Town of Morinville and Alexander First Nation. She highlighted the longstanding relationship between the two communities and the significance of understanding historical and contemporary Indigenous practices.

“I urge all residents to extend recognition and honour to Indigenous peoples today and every day,” Anheliger said, noting that the Treaty 6 flag now flies permanently above Town Hall. “It is crucial that we continue to listen to and learn from Indigenous voices, ensuring their stories and perspectives are woven into the fabric of our shared society.”

Sturgeon County Deputy Mayor Neal Comeau said he appreciated the opportunity to pay tribute to the diverse, dynamic cultures, traditions and contributions of Indigenous communities and peoples. “Today offers us a valuable opportunity to celebrate diverse cultures and traditions while also connecting with and learning more about our friends and neighbours,” adding celebrations like the one held on June 21 are opportunities to come together. “Reconciliation is an essential journey requiring commitment to action, and at Sturgeon County, we are committed to continuing the shared path of understanding and partnership.”

With the formal speeches concluded, the Kehew Singers, led by singer and Drum Keeper Ian Scout, performed songs for dancers Pisim, Alexandra, and Larson Yellowbird, Leonard Campbell, and Michelle Howse, who demonstrated traditional and fancy dance styles as well as Metis Jigging.

Pisim Yellowbird demonstrates women’s Traditional Dancing as Kehew Singers and Drum Keeper Ian Scout perform. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
Alexandra Yellowbird – demonstrates Women’s Fancy dance style.
Leonard Campbell demonstrates Men’s Traditional.
Larson Yellowbird demonstrates Men’s Fancy style dancing.
Michelle House demonstrates Metis Jigging alongside Larson Yellowbirds Men’s Fancy dance style in a dance-off to close the celebration.

Below is a gallery of additional photos

 

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