Fort Whoop-Up celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day with a bang this year, as traditional drumming and dancing in the style of a mini pow-wow stole the show.
“We’re celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day here at the Fort Whoop-up because we’re proudly on traditional Blackfoot land,” says Natasha Gray, site coordinator for Fort Whoop-Up.
Celebrated on June 21st, the day is made to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse culture and outstanding contributions of Indigenous people, and Fort Whoop-Up workers were proud to acknowledge the day with the feature pow-wow and several other events.
“We had members of the Metis local here talking about the Metis history,” said Gray, “as well a Blackfoot interpreter talking abut history and culture.”
However, it wasn’t only workers that were happy to be at the Fort to commemorate the day, but also traditional dancers who participated in the featured events.
“I love dancing, so it feels great to be here,” said Roger Hunt, a traditional dancer “I’ve danced here on this occasion for the past three or four years.”
Dancing not just for his own love, but for the joy of others in his culture. Hunt said that being able to come out to celebrate his heritage in such an enthralling way is rewarding to him on many levels.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing much with just dancing,” said Hunt, “but what I get back from other people, to hear that I have enlightened their day and to be able to share that little bit of a moment with someone; well, it’s a really humbling feeling to get out there and dance not just for myself, but for everybody that would want to be out there with me but can’t be.”
National Indigenous Peoples Day is also celebrated in several other locations across the city, including a tipi transfer for the Lethbridge School District and also at Galt Gardens, where tipi learning sessions and a Blackfoot market were on display.