YORKTON - A teepee structure is being erected in the coming days in City Centre Park in Yorkton.
The structure is being funded by the Yorkton Tribal Council, and was recently approved by Yorkton Council.
The first step in the actual installation was taken today as the YTC held a ground blessing ceremony in the park.
YTC Tribal Chief Isabel O’Soup said whenever they undertake a project holding a blessing ceremony is a first step.
“Before we do anything we always do blessings. We turn to ceremony to lead us,” she said.
With the ceremony Thursday to “bless ground . . . where the teepee is going to be going up,” the installation can now follow.
The teepee project actually started “right here (in the park), one year ago,” said O’Soup, adding. “. . . I never thought really we could make it happen.”
But, they are now “finally going to make it a reality,” said O’Soup.
The teepee will be something of a symbol of the need for continued education and reconciliation by everyone, said O’Soup.
O’Soup challenged those attending the event to talk to each other, to ask questions, and to learn from each other, adding it matters “what comes from within you.”
Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley said the project is important to the city.
“Today we living change to the history of our great city,” he said, adding the park “right here is the perfect spot. . . “This today is a perfect example of what we accomplish when we work together.”
Chief George Cote said the park is a great spot for the teepee.
“It’s really great to see we are putting up this teepee right in the heart of Yorkton,” he said, adding First Nations people were not always so welcome in the city.
Cote explained there was once an area outside the city “because we weren’t allowed in town.” He said they actually needed “a permit to come and buy their supplies,” and then leave.
“But things have changed,” he added, and the teepee will be a symbol things are better today.
“We’re very blessed with the city we are living in (now).”
Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit said he was pleased to be part of recognizing “this significant day,” adding once installed the teepee will be a symbol of and for the First Nations community in the city.
In general, O’Soup said everything the YTC does is focused on making things better for the next generation, and while the teepee will be a symbol of that effort, adding she feels it is also a project for “our ancestors.” She said the past generations couldn’t live their culture as they should have been able too, so “we have to live it for them.”
When they look at the teepee it should be a symbol “that we can do a better job – a better job for our children. They (our ancestors) couldn’t so we have to.”