Heritage Village Featuring
Indigenous peoples are about connectivity. We connect through our inherent knowledge and relationship with our earth: the land, the plants, the water, the sky, and the animals. Through our traditional ways of knowing, we connect to each other and our communities by sharing in ceremony with fire, food, song, dance, stories, and humour.
Âniskômohcikewin, the act of connecting, is an art installation of four snow carvings respecting the four cardinal directions through colour and the representation of those directions. It is a self-directed, interactive and educational installation intended to connect you to Indigenous peoples and places.
In the East
Sweetgrass sculpture is used in this art installation to recognize plants and the importance of ceremony. It is used in prayer, smudging, and purifying. It is usually braided, dried and burned; it is also sometimes used at the beginning of a prayer or ceremony to attract positive energies.
This direction is represented by the colour yellow and the season of Spring. It is the direction of new beginnings. The woman spirit also comes from the east, where the sun rises, where our warmth and vision start. The spirit of woman brings warmth into the home.
In the South
The Crow sculpture is used in this art installation to recognize the winged creatures.
This direction is represented by the colour red, and the season of Summertime. In this part of our journey, we become young people, and we have good physical energy at this time of our journey.
In the West
The bear sculpture is used in this art installation to represent the four legged. The direction is represented by the color of blue and the season of Autumn. It is the time of adulthood, of responsibility, and the parenting stage of your life’s journey.
In the North
The fish sculpture is used in the art installation to represent the water creatures. The direction is represented by the colour white and the season of Winter.
We start our ceremonies in the east, and then we finish in the northern direction, which is our life journey. We finish our journeys as older people in that direction, the mental part of our journey.
The fire, or hearth, is at the centre because this is where we gather to share the warmth and where we’re fed. It provides life for us all physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Here is where share in our food, stories, songs, dance, and humour.
As we acknowledge Treaty 6, we acknowledge the Anishinaabe, the Cree, and the Sioux.
In Alberta there are 5 bands who we recognize as the Stoney Nakota Sioux:
The art installation is to bring awareness of the Sioux people who reside in our beautiful community, and to learn the seasons in the Sioux language.
I have collaborated with knowledge keeper Dwight Paul from Paul First Nation.
Abbawashtit daguchawah metodabi, my name is Dwight Paul, I am a Stoney from Paul band. I grew up in a time close to what would be considered old time ‘Indian’ living, in the time of wagons and sleighs. I am a trapper and hunter. I am a person who holds a close connection and relationship to the land. I respect all things the creator made, and I am grateful for the life he has loaned me. This is who I am.
as told by Dwight Paul
Spring – Widu
Summer – Mnudu
Fall – Bdagidu
Winter – Wanidu
With each season there is a rebirth, growth, preparation, and a time for rest. We are always in preparation. What we gather, we gather for life’s sustenance. The Creators energy is in everything that is life. Because we understand this there is lots of reverence and respect that goes into everything we do.
Spring, summer and fall are all about gathering and getting ready for the hard season of winter.
Is a renewal, a rejuvenation of life and gratitude we made it through winter. There is a bounty, and we feast in the springtime. It’s time to celebrate life but we really don’t see it as that, we just see it as everyday living. As we have exhausted all of our storage preparation from last year’s gatherings, springtime is the start of the gathering seasons as we prepare. We start with berries. The first berries to be picked are the strawberries, then the raspberry, saskatoon, blueberry, loganberry, huckleberry, gooseberries and lastly chokecherry and high bush cranberry. Spring brings a bounty of food sources. Everything is plentiful. We gather much at this time.
The animals, and the ones that flew south come back, these are our immediate food sources. The thawing snow from the creeks and rivers make it easier for the four legged to move around, making them more abundant. For example, the moose will wander to the creeks and to the lakes, and the elk will come out of the hills and move to the flats where they will be out in the open where the grass is growing. We count on the predictable behaviors of animals to know where to hunt.
As soon as the ice is gone, it’s time to fish. We either fish using a rod and reel, or we put a net in the water. We catch jackfish, pickerel, perch, and other fish all along the lakes and the creeks making it really easy to catch them to feed ourselves. We also harvest duck’s eggs in the spring.
As summertime comes, the plants are in full bloom, pollination is happening, and we continue to harvest berries and medicines. We harvest from the abundance of wild food in our environment. In August we would start piling wood, and more wood to heat our homes in the cold weather. From June to September we gather, if we harvested everything at the right time, we should have everything we need for the upcoming winter.
Autumn time is the time to hunt and harvest fat animals for their meat. We will need the fatty meat to make it through the winter. We harvest deer, moose, elk, rabbit, chickens, ducks. We prepare and preserve the meat by smoking and drying. We also have an opportunity to work on old skills like tanning hides into leather to make clothing, footwear and other items.
Wintertime is the start of another type of livelihood that we use to sustain ourselves by trapping furbearing animals. The furs can be sold or tanned and used for warm clothing. This is also a time for rest, to create needed items, to visit and tell stories.
The one constant thing throughout all of the life’s gatherings, is the love for family and working together. Teaching and learning of life skills will sustain the family dynamics and the respect for life. Life is not measured by financial wealth, but by life’s wealth that has sustained us from time immemorial.