OLDS — A teepee-raising event held in Olds on Nov. 5 was an important step in reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people an elder and former Stoney Nakoda chief said.
“This is part of reconciliation in Canada. The people and us,” Henry Holloway said.
“We should have been sharing this 50 years ago; things would have changed. But unfortunately, we can’t fix the past, we can only learn from it and make it a better future for our young people – our grandkids, our great-grandkids.”
About 55 people attended the event at Lions Campground, with about half staying for the afternoon session on Indigenous hunting practices and protocols.
Mayor Judy Dahl and Coun. Darren Wilson were among the non-Indigenous residents who attended, along with Rotary Club of Olds member Mary Turner, Bev Toews of the Olds Fair Trade committee, and many others.
Some elders from the Stoney Nakoda nation made the trip from Morley.
Several members of the Olds College Broncos helped raise the teepee and some stayed for the hunting session.
“It’s an honour to come here and share with you our way of life, our way of surviving in this country,” Holloway said. “Today's ceremony is about mother earth, thanking mother earth that we’re here.”
Others that helped make the event happen were representatives of Mountain View Moccasin House (MVMH), the Town of Olds, the Olds Lions Club as well as the Olds and Mountain View County FCSS groups that helped fund it.
MVMH co-chair Debbie Collins said organizers were pleased with how the day went, considering it was a work day and a school day.
She agreed that November is not an ideal time to be raising teepees, as it’s cold and the ground gets hard, but she said the event was held at this time because it was their first opportunity to gather, due to COVID restrictions.
“We hope to raise the teepee regularly in the community in the new year and now we feel we have an informed group that we can call on for help whenever the time comes,“ Collins said in an email.