This year for the first time in Ponoka Stampede history a Tipi Village will be set up next to the Ponoka Stampede grounds.
The Tipi 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-July3 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the ball diamonds behind the Ponoka Arena Complex.
Inspired by the Blackfoot Tipi 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,” says Louis Bull Tribe Chief Desmond Bull.
During stampede week in addition to multiple tipis, food trucks and an Indigenous craft market will be set up at the Tipi Village and visitors will have the opportunity to explore each of the tipis and enjoy Indigenous storytelling, food, culture and artwork.
The village will have an opening ceremony on Monday June 27, at 12 p.m. with a Pow Wow showcase and speeches from neighbouring Indigenous nations and a council representative from the Town of Ponoka.
Weather dependent, each day the Tipi Village will host multiple events including:
• 12-1 p.m. Opening remarks and protocol;
• 1-3 p.m. Pow Wow 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,” says Tipi Village organizer Suzanne Life-Yeomans. She states that the village presents opportunities for those who visit during the stampede to learn more about Cree culture and its impact in the area.