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Kehewin celebrates Treaty Week

The grand entrance during the powwow at Treaty Week in Kehewin.

Kehewin Cree Nation has been celebrating Treaty Week since Monday with events on the reserve.

A flag raising and Canadian Indian Relay Racing in Bonnyville this weekend culminates the week of activities.

Elissa Gadwa events coordinator said Treaty Week focused on land-based activities.

“That’s what we were going for was land-based teachings because when we got our school in 2020 that’s the vision that our elders chief and council, that’s what they want to bring back to our nation is land-based teaching,” said Gadwa.

“This was our first trial to bring it back to our nation. Talking to the Kehewin elders, they’ve done it, they lived off the land and so to them, this is what they did… that was their Treaty Week.”

Gadwa added, “Decolonization that’s what it is. Going back to our ways and our ancestors and celebrating their teachings.”

In previous years, the celebration has been limited to a day or a couple of days, but the focus was to revert back to a week full of activities.

Monday began with a pipe ceremony and flag raising, plus a blessing of Kehewin Lake. Teepee teachings began that afternoon where different traditional teachings were shared.

“We went to my elders and I asked them what they wanted to see what kind of teachings that they want to bring to the nation. The teepee set up came from Chief and council, their vision was from one of the councillors,” said Gadwa.

The powwow began on Thursday with students from Frog Lake, Onion Lake, and Ecole Notre Dame Elementary School coming to watch.

Today, the continuation of in-roads being built between Bonnyville and Kehewin will see the Kehewin flag raised in the town with a barbeque and pipe ceremony.

“For the first time, Bonnyville will be having our flags hanging in there. So that’s exciting. Like so many of our members are excited to go to town tomorrow,” said Cindy Tootoosis, who helped organize the events.

“I was so proud to see all our community members come together and the support from our elders was just amazing,” said Tootoosis.

This weekend the kickoff to the Canadian Indian Relay Racing season begins at the Bonnyville Rodeo Grounds with racers coming from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana.