BATTLEFORD — Battleford town council has given its approval to hosting a National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in the community.
The event would be held in Battleford’s downtown core sometime during the week of June 13 to 17, with the exact date still to be determined.
Details are still being worked out about what the event would entail. Town CAO Ash Alam explained it would be a full day of celebrations, starting with a pipe ceremony and greetings to open the event, followed by entertainment including singing and drumming, as well as opportunities for storytelling and sharing history. There is also talk of including vendors to enhance the event.
At dusk, a fireworks display is planned to close the event.
Community Planner Paige Hundt is working with the region’s Indigenous partners to host the event. Alam said Hundt had held a meeting with Indigenous representatives last week, which he also attended, and reported there were good suggestions made.
Mayor Ames Leslie said the reason the event will not be held June 21, which is designated National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, is so as not to take away from the other events planned by other Indigenous communities.
Typically, June 21 is packed with Indigenous commemorations throughout the area, most notably in downtown North Battleford where Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre holds a pancake breakfast and entertainment. However, COVID-19 restrictions have curtailed most public celebrations for the last two years.
Leslie and members of town council expressed enthusiasm about Battleford hosting its own event downtown.
“I’m very excited about this. I know this is still in the conceptual stage and many things will change about this,” said Leslie. He adds the town “will lean on consultation to make sure that it’s a great day for everybody.”