Citizens gather to celebrate culture

High Prairie Native Friendship Centre founder Wilf Willier, left, speaks with Town of High Prairie deputy mayor Judy Stenhouse. Willier is also a former town councillor.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A celebration of Aboriginal culture and a stirring speech from Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee highlighted Aboriginal Day June 21 at the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre.

Larivee first recognized the celebration was being held on Treaty 8 lands.

“It goes beyond [saying] that you have a vibrant, diverse culture and brilliant regalia,” said Larivee.

She added her government has taken steps toward reconciliation and to bringing all Albertans together. Repeatedly, she refereed to the apology given by Premier Rachel Notley for past wrongdoings, and highlighted steps to reconciliation.

“There’s still very much more work to be done. We want to build a province where everyone has access to the same services.”

Larivee said school curriculum was being changed so all Albertans will learn of the history of First Nations. And, another recent announcement occurred where civil servants will get training to deal with Aboriginals.

She also highlighted her government’s job creation and training measures.

“We promise to make life better for all Indian peoples.”

Soup and bannock, hamburgers and beverages were served to everyone attending. Bingo, crafts for children, a live band and jigging were a few of the other events held during the evening.

High Prairie’s Oscar Courtorielle, 8, is the look of concentration while making a beaded keychain. Children enjoy crafts and are very meticulous in their work.
Derrick Laboucan, of Driftpile, drums and sings the honour song to open Aboriginal Day. Behind Laboucan is musician Beverley Shaw, of Gift Lake.
Two-year-old Russell Lamouche Jr., of Gift Lake, proudly wore his Metis sash.
A leisurely game of bingo followed delicious soup and bannock. Above, Teresa Belcourt, of High Prairie, checks her cards, hoping her lucky numbers are called.


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