Youth centre officially opens on Pasqua
- EFN Staff | November 02, 2017
Pasqua First Nation held a grand opening to their community’s new youth and cultural centre called Sēhtēyēns Wīkawām, which translates to Little Pelican Lodge in Saulteaux. Letis3. Letisha Kahnapace who is on the youth committee is happy the youth of her community now have a place to call their own – a place to hold activities and to also learn their culture and traditions. Kahnapace, who is on the youth committee, helps plan activities for the youth to keep them busy. She said the new building is a great opportunity for the youth to be engaged and also a place they can call their own.
“I like it…our youth committee is planning on doing movie nights here because it has a big TV in [there],” she said. “The centre will definitely help keep the youth out of trouble and it’s a place to go especially in the future for younger generations.”
Before the youth centre was built, there wasn’t much for the youth to do aside from attending dances. Pasqua Chief Matthew Todd Peigan said activities were held at their community hall and the school gym but they felt they needed a facility to call their own.
“The leadership of Pasqua made the decision to build a facility that the youth wanted. The grand opening was that reality,” he said. “It’s a centre where they can call their own and where they can gather and to learn. It’s not going to be place to come and play [but] it’s going to be a place to learn.”
The elder centre is next door to the new youth facility and Chief Peigan said the elders will be playing a major part of the youth centre.
“First Nations cannot forget their culture, traditions and their language,” he said. “This youth centre will incorporate all that...is a part of the programming that will go into the centre.”
Last October, Pasqua First Nation announced plans of the youth centre and celebrated a new journey with a sod-turning event. Fabian Ironeagle who is one of the councillors put in an application for the youth centre with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
Last summer INAC put a call out for proposals so Ironeagle and two other staff members had three days to grab all the required data to their application together—including a conceptual drawing of a building from Wendell Peigan, owner of WP Construction. A few weeks later, Chief Peigan broke the news to Ironeagle that they were approved for the youth centre. Ironeagle and his team put the amount of $900,000 on the proposal but INAC approved them for $750,000. Pasqua First Nation put in the rest of the dollars to complete the youth centre.
“It’s a dream come true for us…the youth centre has been at the top of the list out here for years,” he said. “This youth centre [will] enhance services for our youth.”
The grand opening started with an opening prayer from the community’s elder and knowledge keeper. The youth drum group opened with an honour song following with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Everyone was guided inside the youth centre to admire the new facility. The grand opening event had various guest speakers such as the Federation of Indigenous Sovereign Nations (FSIN) Vice Chief Dutch Lerat and File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) Chief Edmund Bellegarde.