Organizers and supporters including Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin MLA and Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson present the plan for the teepee village. (Shaela Dansereau/ Black Press Media)

Organizers and supporters including Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin MLA and Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson present the plan for the teepee village. (Shaela Dansereau/ Black Press Media)

Cree teepee village presented for the first time at Ponoka Stampede

This year for the first time in Ponoka Stampede history a teepee will be set up next to the Ponoka Stampede Grounds.

The teepee village is presented by the Town of Ponoka, the Ponoka Stampede Association and the Four Nations of Maskwacis and will be open to all on June 27 to July 3 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the ball diamonds behind the Ponoka Arena Complex.

Inspired by the Blackfoot teepee village at the Calgary Stampede, the Four Nations of Maskwacis have come together with the Town of Ponoka to create a Cree version of the village.

“Given that Ponoka is in Treaty 6 it is good to showcase the Treaty 6 people,” said Louis Bull Tribe Chief Desmond Bull.

During Stampede week, in addition to multiple teepees, food trucks and an Indigenous craft market will be set up at the teepee village and visitors will have the opportunity to explore each of the teepees and enjoy Indigenous storytelling, food, culture and artwork.

The village had an opening ceremony on Monday June 27 with a powwow showcase and speeches from neighbouring Indigenous nations and a council representative from the Town of Ponoka.

Weather dependent, each day the teepee village will host multiple events including:

• 12 to 1 p.m., opening remarks and protocol;

• 1-3 p.m., powwow showcase featuring traditional drumming, singing, and dancing;

• 3-4 p.m., Elders greetings from neighbouring Indigenous nations.

The organizers say that next year they want to include Indian Relay in the showcase.

“We are hoping to educate everyone on reconciliation, what it truly means and the history,” said organizer Suzanne Life-Yeomans. She stated that the village presents opportunities for those who visit during the Stampede to learn more about Cree culture and its impact in the area.

Ponoka Stampede