With an overarching goal of unity and healing, organizers Lisa Tacan and Delvina Whitehawk have stepped up to arrange festivities for this year’s National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21 in Kamsack.
This will be the first of what is expected to be an annual event for Tacan, owner of Kamsack’s Kunshi’s Kitchen, and Whitehawk, who works as an administrator for the Cote First Nation. A lineup of speakers and musical entertainers will carry the day between the hours of noon and dusk at the Kamsack Sports Grounds. The free event is open to people of all ages, with special games and activities planned for children and families.
“We wanted this event to be all about the music,” shared Tacan. “We believe music heals – and we are so excited about the amazing bands we have booked. It has been a very difficult year for us all, and we are inviting everyone to come together and just have a great time.”
Performers will include Brown Can Shine – a young rap group from Saskatoon with roots in the Key First Nation, Max Delorme – a multiple Star Search finalist, and Fred Mitchell and the Freebird Band – a highly popular prairie-based country/rock band.
Opening ceremonies will commence shortly after noon with prayers and a drum group. The afternoon will feature a number of guest speakers who will be sharing knowledge and expertise on topics like the symbolism of ribbon skirts, the correlation between addiction and residential school trauma, and the devastation of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“All COVID-19 guidelines will be in effect,” offered Whitehawk. “We expect people to practice social distancing and we will be offering free COVID kits to everyone as they arrive. Each kit will include some hand sanitizer and a mask.”
As one of the first major events to be happening in Kamsack since the pandemic shut-down, the organizers say they don’t want to take any chances.
“Although it is a very large and open outdoor space, we will be limiting the crowd to the recommended 150 people,” reported Tacan. “Our security team will keep count throughout the day as people come and go. We want to ensure that everyone who attends feels safe.”
Those planning to take in the festivities are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets, as well as umbrellas, as there will be no seating or shade areas available on the open sports field. No drugs or alcohol will be permitted on site, but adults are invited to purchase food and drinks from the onsite canteen which will feature Indigenous inspired foods like fried bannock burgers and tacos.
Upon arrival, each child in attendance will receive a free bagged lunch and an orange balloon. Children’s activities will include Nerf Wars and craft tables for making dreamcatchers, talking sticks, and rock paintings.