As with most things this year, there are no events planned from the Cold Lake Native Friendship Centre for National Indigenous History Month.
While the province is speeding up reopening plans, the Friendship Centre is electing to remain in an appointment-only state due to COVID-19 concerns.
“For us, it seems like it’s too early. There’s still people getting sick. For now, we’re going to play it by ear until about the 29th of June,” said the Centre’s executive director Agnes Gendron.
“I know we’re safe here in Cold Lake, but if we get people coming and going, you have to start wondering just how safe we’re going to stay.”
On June 5th, in place of a celebration, the Centre passed out posters to local businesses with their doors still open to show their support, which the Centre dubbed “Friendship Day”.
“We wanted to show that we’re friends to the City of Cold Lake and the businesses supporting the community during COVID-19,” said Gendron.
Businesses that received posters included gas stations and grocers. City hall also received its own poster.
A similar event is planned for National Indigenous Persons Day on June 21st.
While the Centre itself won’t be open for some time, it has six bingo nights slotted for this month, the funds of which will go towards paying its utilities and rebuilding the Kokum’s House men’s shelter.
On her part, Gendron is saddened by the lack of festivities this year, but remains hopeful that 2021 will have greener pasture.
“It would have been nice to have a diner. Last year we had some events downtown, and it went very well. We’ll go gung-ho next year in order to make up for this one,” said Gendron.
National Indigenous History Month runs through June celebrating the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous cultures across Canada.