Early Registration Contest Winners

Congratulations to the Early Registration Contest Winners!

Thank you to all the Saskatchewan communities and activity organizers who entered their Culture Days events on the Culture Days website – there was a terrific response!

Congratulations to our winners, who were randomly drawn from early registrants, to receive a tailor-made video to help promote their Culture Days activities online and through social media. Click on the community names to watch their videos!

The winners, by community, are:

Allan, SK – the community is boasting a myriad of heritage-themed Culture Days activities which include blacksmithing, pine cone bird feeders, quilting and cross-stitching, carpentry, button sewing, hanky dolls and gift bags, butter churning, and bannock-making.

Lloydminster, SK – Lloydminster’s Culture Days weekend includes learning greetings in different languages, science experiments, henna tattoos, Hijab dressing and information sharing, fence weaving and Métis dancing.

Nipawin, SK – Nipawin Oasis Community Centre is offering a variety of interactive, educational and fun events that revolve around the celebration and sharing of Cree culture and language such as Elders’ teachings, teepee teachings and raising, Cree bingo, beadwork and children’s activities, to name just a few.

Prince Albert, SK – Culture Days in Prince Albert this year centres around storytelling through activities like dancing, writing, painting and a Cultural Cafe.

Regina, SK – The Dunlop Art Gallery’s Culture Days focus is Native Kids Ride Bikes: Panel Presentation and Bike Riding featuring four community artists who worked with youth from four community groups to build and decorate low-rider bikes in the spirit of the teachings shared by Métis artist Dylan Miner. Participants will hear about cultural learnings, and be able to view and ride the bikes on display.

SaskScapes – Breathing life into the past: The Saskatchewan Archaeological Society

Join Kevin Power and members of the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society at their 53rd annual gathering.  We all have archeology – it’s what connects us.  You’ll be amazed at just how far back Saskatchewan’s history has been traced through the discovery of artifacts. But you’ll also hear some great conversations about engaging youth through the work being done by the Society, and the importance of telling the STORY behind the objects found.

THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY SASKCULTURE

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan. The series is produced and hosted by Kevin Power.  To sponsor your own episodes contact SaskScapes via twitter, Facebook or by email for more information.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store on Stitcher Radio and TuneIn RadioSaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Follow SaskScapes on Facebook: Facebook.com/saskscapes

Follow Kevin Power on Twitter @kevinpowerlive

SaskScapes – Intangible Cultural Heritage

We often think of our heritage as those things which are tangible. Buildings, artifacts, paintings: those items to be found in museums and galleries. But what about the intangible aspects of our heritage? Those things which help tell your story, the story of your community? What is the folklore you grew up hearing in the area in which you lived? What are the secret family recipes passed down from generation to generation?

Kevin Power is joined by Kristin Catherwood, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer with Heritage Saskatchewan. Together the more clearly define what Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is all about, and how you can participate in your own communities.

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan. The series is produced and hosted by Kevin Power.  To sponsor your own episodes contact SaskScapes via twitter, Facebook or by email for more information.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store on Stitcher Radio and TuneIn RadioSaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Follow SaskScapes on Facebook: Facebook.com/saskscapes

Follow Kevin Power on Twitter @kevinpowerlive

Telling Stories

It’s been a whirlwind of a spring, summer and fall. My fellow Community Engagement Animateurs and I began our journey last April, and now, more than six months later, we’ve covered tens of thousands kilometres and engaged in more than 75 communities across the province. Each of us had our own unique way of engaging with those communities, but I think we can all agree that one thing we shared in common was stories.

Whether telling stories, hearing stories, or capturing stories, Carol, Kevin and I were champions of storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most profound ways that people connect with each other. One of my goals in my position as a Community Engagement Animateur was to empower people to tell their own stories, as individuals and as communities.

I am a storyteller myself and as a folklorist, I study and try to interpret other people’s stories as well. My work with Intangible Cultural Heritage is essentially about safeguarding stories, whether they’re tall tales or the knowledge passed from one person to the next. In my workshops, I used storytelling as a tool to connect people to place, to each other, and to their own selves. I asked each participant to tell me about their home place and the story of that place in relation to their own identity. I showed communities how story can be used in powerful ways to connect community members with each other, and to connect community with the wider world.

In the later stages of my time as an animateur, I had the unique opportunity to partner with the National Film Board of Canada’s Grasslands Project. The Grasslands Project is a series of short films documenting life in the southern prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta which has been shooting over the past six months. I teamed up with the project’s director to offer media clinics in communities across southern Saskatchewan, in Gravelbourg, Mankota, Ponteix and Radville.  In addition to communities, we had a couple of workshops which resulted from outreach to people who may not typically access opportunities like this: one was with the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge and one with the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre.

It was an intensive day which began with my presentation on story, what it means, how we can learn to tell our own stories, and exercises which demonstrate how storytelling brings us together. From this exploration of story and place, participants had a good foundation to begin learning about the craft of film-making from the Grasslands Project director Scott Parker.

Video is one of the most powerful media available for storytelling, for it combines the visual with speech, and it allows us to share our stories with a global audience. But the media clinic participants were not concerned with the global during the making of their short films – each and every one was grounded in local place. The films speak for themselves, and all of them can be viewed on the Grasslands Project Media Clinics Youtube Channel here.

At the end of this particular journey, I have heard many more stories than I told, which is how it should be. I have seen, and heard, firsthand the incredible diversity of this province. And I have learned that despite the diversity of people, landscape and story across this province of ours, we all share one thing in common: we all belong somewhere and we all have a story to tell.

Here is the film we made in Mankota. For the rest of the Grasslands Project media workshop films, visit its Youtube Channel. For more information, see the Grassland Project’s blog and like it on Facebook.

SaskScapes – Urban Canvas

Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming (SCYAP) offers a unique employment experience known as URBAN CANVAS. After an hiatus period, Urban Canvas is back with massive support from the city of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan. At-risk youth learn the vital skills to propel them forward in life using art and culture as a tool. Kevin Power is joined by past participants who are now instructors at SCYAP, as well as current participants. Together they share the personal impact this program has on their lives. At  the end of the podcast you’ll hear part of a speech given by SCYAP’s executive director Darrell Lechman (heard last season in Episode 30). Darrell spoke at the opening exhibit and media launch of Urban Canvas held at the SCYAP gallery on November 20, 2015. An impressive crowd including Saskatoon Mayor Don Aitchison, members of the Saskatoon Fire Department, Police Department, and many more.

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan. The series is produced and hosted by Kevin Power.  Visit www.iheartculture.ca. Click on the Community Engagement Animateur link to view the work being done by all three of the SaskCulture CEA’s.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store on Stitcher Radio and TuneIn RadioSaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Follow Kevin Power on Twitter @kevinpowerlive

SaskScapes – The B.E.A.T.S. Program

Recognize, improvise, adapt and thrive.

Those are the key skills which lay the ground work for a phenomenal program in North Battleford called B.E.A.T.S. (Building Expression and Awareness Through Theatre and Sound). Alan Corbeil, a North Battleford social worker, created this program in partnership with the Living Sky School Division and the Prairie North Health Region.  The program targets at-risk youth and teaches them the skills that set  a course for a future full of hope. B.E.A.T.S. uses creativity to tap into each of the participant’s gifts, and the result is proof in this episode. Kevin Power is joined by Alan along with Holly (artistic director), and two of the programs success stories – Talia and Sereta.  You’ll be truly touched by just how articulate, dynamic and confident these two young girls are, and they both credit the B.E.A.T.S. program for their newly found sense of self.

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan. The series is produced and hosted by Kevin Power.  Visit www.iheartculture.ca. Click on the Community Engagement Animateur link to view the work being done by all three of the SaskCulture CEA’s.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store on Stitcher Radio and TuneIn RadioSaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Follow Kevin Power on Twitter @kevinpowerlive

 

beats 2

Culture Crash Course: A Taste of Northern Saskatchewan

Waterhen Lake in northern Saskatchewan's boreal forest. August 29, 2015. Kristin Catherwood

Waterhen Lake in northern Saskatchewan’s boreal forest. August 29, 2015. Kristin Catherwood

I’m from the deep south of Saskatchewan, where the only natural trees grow in coulees and on creek banks. Down here, life is defined by the open prairie, the rugged hills, and the vast sky. Place defines our cultural identities. It shapes who we are and how we live. This past week, I was given the opportunity to travel north and to participate in cultural experiences that, though they are within the boundaries of the same province, were new to me, and very much shaped by the natural landscape.

SaskCulture Outreach Consultant Damon Badger Heit and I made a trek north to the Meadow Lake area, nestled in the boreal forest. It was the furthest north I have ever been to date, though when I checked out a map of Saskatchewan, I realized that it is still only about halfway up our vast province. Life there is defined by forest and abundant lakes. As soon as we travelled west and north from Prince Albert on Highway 55, the change in both landscape and culture was evident. For instance, one of the main topics of conversation was berries, particularly blueberries – where to find the best ones, the distances people had travelled in search of them, the quality of this year’s berry harvest. We drank wild mint tea that had been picked in the nearby forest. The road was full of logging trucks, not the grain semis and farm equipment I’m used to in the south.

As a community engagement animateur, my job is to engage and animate communities about culture. But I always end up on the receiving end of engagement and animation. I am constantly learning new things about the cultural fabric of this province. On this particular trip, Damon coordinated a series of learning adventures which allowed me to interact with a few cultures that I had previously had little personal experience with: Métis and traditional Cree culture.

Openin of the Northern Indigenous Media Arts Project at the Mann Art Gallery, Prince Albert. August 27, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

Opening of the Northern Indigenous Media Arts Project at the Mann Art Gallery, Prince Albert. August 27, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

First we attended the opening of Northern Indigenous Media Arts Project exhibition at the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert. The project enabled aboriginal youth to explore culture through the art of photography, allowing us to glimpse the world as they see it. Next we stopped at Keewatin Junction Station in Green Lake, a café housed in a former train station which doubles as a Métis cultural interpretive centre. Over the next couple days we visited three First Nation bands, experiencing a sweat lodge, feast and a Pow Wow. Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Meadow Lake as well.

The most profound experience of all was inclusion in two traditional Cree ceremonies. At Waterhen Lake First Nation I was honoured to participate in a sweat lodge ceremony. It was my first experience at a sweat, and Damon made sure I knew the proper etiquette: the offerings of tobacco and broadcloth, the proper attire, and the importance of bringing a towel! Though I was nervous since this was all new to me, I was so graciously welcomed by the elders leading the ceremony and all the other participants that it was easy to put my anxiety aside and commit to fully experiencing the ceremony. I will never forget it.

Keewatin Junction Station in Green Lake is a cafe/coffee shop as well as a Metis cultural heritage interpretive centre. August 28, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

Keewatin Junction Station in Green Lake is a cafe/coffee shop as well as a Metis cultural heritage interpretive centre. August 28, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

During my time at Waterhen, Damon showed me a place of offerings atop one of Water Hen’s Seven Hills. There people have left gifts for the Little People. Cultures around the world honour local spirits in this way, and it was humbling to see the reverence with which they are regarded by the many gifts left for them. The forest and the lake are a powerful force, and I felt compelled to make my own small offering in that place.

Before beginning our long journey home, we were invited to attend a Feast at Flying Dust First Nation. I was again immersed in traditional Cree culture, and thankful for the honour of being there, and for the guidance I received in how to conduct myself during the ceremony. We feasted on traditional northern foods like moose and elk meat, bannock, berries and wild mint tea, as well as more modern fare like garden potatoes and frosted cake. I learned that at a Feast, you eat until the food is all gone. Needless to say, Damon and I did not feel the need to stop for snacks on the drive home!

The sign for the Mistawassis Pow Wow, written in the local vernacular. August 29, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

The sign for the Mistawasis Pow Wow, written in the local vernacular. August 29, 2015. Kristin Catherwood.

On the way back to Regina, we stopped at the Mistawasis First Nation Pow Wow. Dancers in traditional regalia mingled with the crowd, and I was struck by the pride I could see in the performer’s faces. It was a potent reminder that the celebration of culture is powerful. Altogether, my quick trip to the north was something of a crash course in traditional Cree culture. It was a totally immersive experience one of great personal significance.

We live in a province of incredible diversity: diversity of landscape, of people, of culture. So often we exist only within our own cultural comfort zones. We may observe another culture by reading about it, looking at art about it, or watching videos of it, we may eat so-called “ethnic foods” at a restaurant, or watch a cultural performance. But to truly understand culture, we must experience it in a personal way – by participating.  I am grateful I had the opportunity to do just that in my first ever northern Saskatchewan experience.

 

SaskScapes – The Borealis Music Festival Part 2

Welcome back to the continuation of episode 54! This two- part podcast was recorded over three days at the Borealis Music Festival in Prince Albert, SK. This festival made it’s debut throughout the first weekend in August 2015 and what a debut it was! A line-up of bands that would make any music festival envious. In Part 2 you will hear from some of the bands performing: “July Talk, “The Wolfe” and “Crazy Fox” with lead singer Liza Brown.  If you’ve missed episode 54, that’s where you’ll hear from the key players who got this festival up and running.

 

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan Visit www.iheartculture.ca. Click on the Community Engagement Animateur link to view the work being done by all three of the SaskCulture CEA’s.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store and on Stitcher Radio. SaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Kevin Power with band members of "The Wolfe"

Kevin Power with band members of “The Wolfe”

SaskScapes – The Borealis Music Festival Part 1

Welcome to the first podcast recorded over three days at the Borealis Music Festival in Prince Albert, SK. This festival made it’s debut throughout the first weekend in August 2015 and what a debut it was! A line-up of bands that would make any music festival envious. This is part one of two podcasts and in this episode Kevin Power is joined by Prince Albert’s Economic Development Manager Jayne Remenda, also with festival co-ordinator Abraham Lancaster and two of the many volunteers that helped make this festival a huge success in it’s first year.  Part two of this podcast continues with episode 55 where you’ll hear from some of the bands.

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SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan Visit www.iheartculture.ca. Click on the Community Engagement Animateur link to view the work being done by all three of the SaskCulture CEA’s.

Host: Kevin Power www.kevinpower.net

Music provided by Jeffery Straker www.jefferystraker.com

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store and on Stitcher Radio. SaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

“Lighting the pipes” – The Two Spirit International gathering

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a portion of the 28th International Two Spirit gathering which was held at Batoche, SK. Since 1987 this weekend retreat has been held for First Nations and Indigenous Two Spirit people and their partners, family and friends.

As I learn about this part of the indigenous culture, I am struck by the high regard held for the two spirit individual within many tribes.  That someone who embraces both male and female traits would be revered and being very special people.  In modern culture, where the fluidity of gender is evolving it is necessary to find ones place within that cultural landscape.  My observation during the opening “Lighting of the Pipes” ceremony and the lighting of the fire (which burned throughout the three day event), was that those who gathered held the First Nations rituals in the highest regard.  The opening ceremony consisted of the building of the sweat lodge, the lighting of the pipes, and the sharing of the feast. Under the star-lit skies, we gathered around the teepee, and there was a palpable feeling of unity present. This was a weekend where participants felt safe to celebrate and to heal. Myself included. And indeed, it was an international gathering.

I had the opportunity to attend the sharing/healing circle. It began with the “smudging” as was done in the opening ceremony. The eagle feather, is passed to each individual as they share their own story and how they name their experience. It is an intensely personal time. As with the opening ceremony, I was struck by the strength of the women in the leadership role. And hearing them speak  brought me to tears.

I had many questions about the tradition of tobacco within the First Nations’ gatherings. Mostly out of ignorance and fear of making a mistake. I had some very good guidance from within the Two Spirit community in Saskatoon as well as SaskCulture.

Elders and traditional teachers are held in high regard within First Nations culture. They are leaders, teachers, role models and mentors.  Tobacco is one of the four sacred medicines. I spent an evening in advance of the weekend making white fabric pouches and filled each with tobacco and tied with a blue ribbon. The colours were purposely chosen.  I had originally planned to make an offering of tobacco in exchange for the chance to talk and share stories for a podcast (as is the case in episode 52 of SaskScapes with guest Jack Saddleback).  The three women who led the opening ceremony and who spoke so powerfully at the sharing circle the following day was so significant for me, that what I intuited to be most appropriate was to make an offering as a personal thanks. A deeply personal thanks. Not asking for anything in return, for what was given me had already been done. The experience. I was, in that moment, not there representing SaskCulture alone, I was there for me.  I found time to take each of the three aside privately and as I place the tobacco in the left hand of each, tears came to my eyes. “Thank you for what you have given me this day”. As a member of the LGBT community I identify with what had been shared around the issue of finding ones place and of healing.  And in that moment of offering I began to understand the true significance of the presentation of tobacco and the feeling of profound gratitude for being in that moment and sharing this tradition.