Muskeg donates tipis in honour of 30 years
- NC Raine | October 10, 2018
In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Canada’s first urban reserve, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation Investment Management Corporation (MLCN) has donated a total of five tipis to their business partners and collaborators.
Three of the 16-foot tipis were gifted to their shareholder group at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, while one a-piece were presented to the City of Saskatoon, and White Buffalo Youth Lodge.
“The theme behind it was the same theme behind the whole anniversary – celebrating the urban reserve development with the City of Saskatoon, working in collaboration. And we wanted to tie in a youth portion to those celebrations,” said Mike Icton, CEO of MLCN.
“When you’re talking about First Nations in general, tipis are one of the first symbols that come to mind. Part of what is important about our culture is celebrating our roots and sharing experiences like ceremonies. This is a good way to reach out for truth and reconciliation,” said Icton.
The City of Saskatoon will use their gifted tipi as part of their truth and reconciliation community program, said Icton. It is the first tipi the City of Saskatoon has officially owned, and is reportedly causing some buzz in the Mayor’s office.
“Mayor Clark was very excited about it,” said Icton. “His staff has already started to go crazy with how they’re going to use it. So, I was really excited to hear how that's moving forward.”
The three tipis presented to Muskeg Lake will be allocated to their education department, administration department, and to the Chief and Council for use in ceremonies. Muskeg Lake had been without tipis to use for ceremonies and events prior to receiving this donation.
“The community is thrilled to have them again,” said Icton. “It goes back to why Muskeg Lake had the foresight to move forward with the urban reserve – to try to create a better future not just for the youth of Muskeg Lake but for youth of First Nations people in Saskatchewan.”
The tipi donated to the youth and staff at White Buffalo Youth Lodge will use it for culture camps and ceremonies, as well as a teaching tool.
Heidi Gravelle, Director of White Buffalo Youth Lodge, said to be given a tipi is a huge honour.
“The youth, knowing they have a tipi, will have such an impact on their positive self-identity in who they are as First Nations people. And non-First Nations youth as well,” she said. “To see an actual tipi and teach them to set it up – its not only pride in their culture, it's also that sense of ownership and belonging.”