BY TAYLOR CHARTRAND
There’s no doubt about it, the Nekaneet First Nation and the Town of Maple Creek have a unique relationship.
That friendship was put on display in the second portion of the ‘Living Heritage’ art project over at the C.W Glascock Building on Tuesday.
Taking part in the second round of this project were nearly 125 students from Maple Creek’s Sidney Street Elementary School.
At the head of this session was Connie Phillips who explained the event in further detail.
“This is session two of the Living Heritage project and we’re focusing on the Nekaneet First Nation. We’re trying to depict the unique relationship between the Nekaneet people and the Town of Maple Creek. We’ve got four stations for the students to check out – bannock making, a necklace/bracelet craft area, a guided tour and Lena Buffalocalf will be fielding questions on how tipi’s are made.”
These stations provided not only students, but everyone in attendance with a little bit of knowledge on how the people of Maple Creek and the Nekaneet First Nation did business way back when.
Although this session was meant to educate the students of Sidney Street Elementary School, Phillips said even she learned something along the way.
“Throughout that time frame, both the people of the Nekaneet First Nation and Maple Creek had an interesting relationship. Growing up, I always heard a lot about the bad news and negativity. I didn’t know these types of relationships actually existed. I was naive and I believe this is a fairly unique relationship.”
Phillips hoped this session would enlighten the students on a great piece of history, as it did to her.
“There have been studies and reports done on the relationship between the people of Maple Creek and the Nekaneet First Nation and we wanted to highlight that friendship. I really wanted the kids that attended this event to understand the heritage of the Nekaneet and how they are a part of who Maple Creek is. Our goal is to have a hands-on experience each and every time the students come through so they can retain this information.”
Now unfortunately, the funding for this project is about to run dry. Phillips said this is a minor hurdle in the process.
“We only have funding for the first five sessions but plan on doing ten. If we want to apply for additional funding, we’ll have to do that by Nov. 1. Normally, you’d have to have your first round of sessions completed, but I have spoken with the Saskatchewan Arts Board and they have encouraged me to re-apply with a report of what has been done to this point.”
And Phillips put it simply when asked about the importance of securing this funding.
“We’d like to get this funding so we can keep the momentum of this project going.”
Even if they cannot secure the additional funding, there are still three remaining parts to the ‘Living Heritage’ project.
The next portion will be on the Metis people and that is taking place on Nov. 19. To finish the first portion of this project, the final two topics will be on the Northwest Mounted Police and Cowboys and Ranching.
Phillips ended by sending a special thanks to Caroline and Brenda Mosquito, Lena Buffalocalf, Royce Pettyjohn and Geoff Phillips for all their help in preparing the stations.
NEWS-TIMES PHOTO KATE WINQUIST