YORKTON - The new teepee sculpture announced earlier this year for City Centre Park in Yorkton has been installed, and was officially ‘opened’ at a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon.
“I’m trying not to be emotional, but when we blessed this ground . . . I dedicated it to our ancestors,” said Yorkton Tribal Council Tribal Chief Isabel O’Soup, adding it was for all people’s ancestors.
The reason, the teepee is to be “a symbol of us working together,” she said. “We want to move forward in a positive way for all of us. It’s my hope, my plan, my dream, that this will be a symbol of that.”
The teepee is also a way “to put some First Nation representation into the park,” said O’Soup, noting that the mural has only a small teepee in the background which is difficult to notice.
YTC Indigenous Cultural Liaison Cory Cadotte said the teepee is the most recognizable symbol of First Nations people there is, and they hope to use that recognition to draw people to it and learn from it.
For example, a QR code is on-site people can access which will take them to a YTC video telling the story of the teepee, he explained.
As part of the event 15 individuals including the Mayor, Tribal Chief, an RCMP officer and others were selected to give a word of meaning to each of the poles, which were then blessed.
The first pole was kindness, the second to be proud of who you are, the third was peace for all, with others including respect, hope, acceptance, wisdom, honesty and love.
With the installation, O’Soup said everybody worked together, YTC and the City, to see it happen.
“Everybody worked to make this happen. We are making history today,” she said.
Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley picked up on the theme noting he was proud to be part of the historical unveiling.
“The landscape of Yorkton has changed,” he said, noting that is not just visually because of the teepee, but because of what it symbolizes. In that regard Hippsley said the teepee was a symbol “of how we choose to work together toward a much better future.”