June marks National Indigenous History Month in Canada – a time we ensure we make the extra effort to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in this country.
Here in Regina we are on the traditional lands, referred to as Treaty 4 territory. This is the original lands of the Cree, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
In celebration, we’ve listed some amazing and diverse activities you and your family can do this month!
Seven Grandfather Teachings with Elder Hazel Dixon
In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, Elder Hazel Dixon recounts the Seven Grandfather Teachings with us. These seven principles form the foundation of an Indigenous way of life: Wisdom, love, respect, courage, honesty, humility, and truth. Together, these seven teachings are gifts that help us respect the Creator, the Earth and each other.
Dates:June 18, June 25, July 2, July 9
The Regina Public Library is packed full of fun activities that provide learning opportunities, fun and entertainment. From storytelling to jigging and everything in between, there’s plenty here to add to your calendar.
June 15, 7pm: Indigenous Family Storytelling
June 16, 7pm: Métis Fiddle Tunes: History of Fiddle Music
June 17, 7pm: Indigenous Comedy Puppet Show with DerRic Starlight (Online)
June 23, 7pm: Métis Jigging with Scott Duffee (Online)
June 24, 7pm: Traditional Indigenous Tattooing 7:00pm (Online)
June 25, 7pm: Tanya Talaga: Seven Fallen Feathers 7:00pm (Online)
June 30, 7pm: Traditional Teachings in Art 7:00pm (Online)
Government House is honoured to share the current art exhibit in the Queen Elizabeth II Art Gallery which is presented by the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils’ Arts on the Move Program. The exhibit is entitled “Common Truths” with paintings by Donna Langhorne.
“Common Truths” continues Donna’s work of examining how challenges facing Indigenous people today can be identified and addressed artistically with reference to traditional teachings and concepts.
Experience this exhibit in Five Groupings, each grouping has a theme and uses a common shape. It confronts twenty (20) common truths impacting Indigenous people.
New videos will be posted Mondays and Thursdays during the month of June. There are also activity pages posted that can be used to engage students/kids with this exhibit.
MacKenzie Art Gallery
To celebrate National Indigenous History Month, the MacKenzie Art Gallery is featuring one incredible Indigenous artist each week!
Watch for features on their Facebook page every Saturday in June.
Here are a few of our favourite artists already featured.
City of Regina Public Art in the Civil Art Collection
Oskana Ka asasteki is located on Scarth Street and 12th Avenue and is viewable anytime. This giant bison is another of Joe Fafard’s creations. Fafard created the giant bison made of powder-coated, lazer cut steel in 1998 to commemorate and honour the First Nations people in Saskatchewan. The name of the sculpture “Oskana ka asasteki” also honours the Cree language. It means “bones that are piled together” – the original name of Regina.
Another great piece is the Regina Gateway. Completed and installed in 2011, it marks the Regina Avenue and Lewvan Drive intersection as a significant entry point into the city.
At first glance, it may not look like an animal. But the design behind the Regina Gateway sculpture is meant to be reminiscent of the skeletal spine of the buffalo that once roamed the prairies.
Wascana Centre Public Art
As you head into Wascana Centre, keep your eyes open for several sculptures that celebrate different aspect of indigenous culture – one of which is the Lakeshore Park Totem Pole, located in Lakeshore Park within Wascana Centre.
This was a gift to Saskatchewan from the British Columbia government in 1971. It commemorates the centenary of the union, July 20, 1871, of the province of British Columbia with the Dominion Canada. The Saskatchewan totem pole is one of 12 presented to Canadian centres.
British Columbia's gift of a Totem Pole to Saskatchewan was hewn from Western Red Cedar by Mr. Lloyd Wadhams of the Nimpkish Band. It is 16 feet high, three and a half feet in diameter, and weighs approximately 3,500 pounds.
The Totem Pole is of the Kwakiutl Nation design. The predominant feature of the pole is the large Thunderbird which in Indigenous mythology is the noble and omnipotent ruler of the skies and master of the elements. It is the Great Eagle, respected throughout the area by all the coastal tribes. For the Kwakiutl it is particularly a symbol of family solidarity, the supernatural power that helped man build his first house. The human form on its breast signifies supernatural and human attributes.
#TBT to 1971. This Totem Pole was a gift to Saskatchewan from the British Columbia Government. It is located in Lakeshore Park within Wascana Centre. To find out more, visit our website: www.wascana.ca OR come check it out in the Park! . . #discoverwc #throwbackthursday #wascanacentre #seeyqr #exploresask #backintheday
You’ll surely not miss the Four Directions Sculpture on your path and looks exactly how it sounds!
Unveiled in 2005, Four Directions was created by Lionel Peyachew, a Cree artist from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan.
There are many meanings behind this beautiful piece from the bow and arrow which were fundamental to the survival of the Plains First People, to the four directions of the medicine wheel, which reflect the cycles in native philosophy as a tool for teaching and learning.
Last on our list is Oskana. This sculpture was completed in the summer of 1989 by Saskatchewan artist Doug Hunter. It can be found behind Wascana Place (2900 Wascana Dr.).
The carving of the stones is derived from carvings made by the Southern Plains Indians known as “rib stones.” While an exact interpretation of the “rib stones” is unknown, some view them as representing depositories for the souls of the hunt, the bison, an appropriate symbol for Wascana.
The circle is an archaic power symbol dating far back into prehistoric times representing fertility, growth, woman, and goddess. Examples can be found in the carvings of North American Tribes dating back 20,000 years. The medicine wheel and the teepee circle are more examples of the significance of the circle to the early inhabitants of the plains.
As a counterpart to the circle symbol, the bronze bison skulls symbolize death, an ending or termination. They are the literal representation of Wascana – the corruption of the Cree word “oscana” – pile of bones. [specifically bison bones]
How are you celebrating National Indigenous History Month? Share your ideas!