Event out to build cultural connections

The Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) is looking to build understanding amongst people from a variety of different cultural backgrounds with a series of diversity nights.

The first of the events, which combine teachings about traditions with food and other activities, will debut Thursday night at 6 p,m.

Acting PAMC executive director Michelle Hassler said the idea came after a discussion with city arts and cultural coordinator Judy Macleod Campbell.

Macleod Campbell, Hassler said, had been to something similar in Alberta.

“We were talking one day, and we said, ‘OK, I think that would be a good event here in Prince Albert, but instead of just one culture, why don’t we invite and share two to three cultures?’” Hassler recalled.

“We can bridge the gap between First Nations and newcomers. We can have one celebration together to learn and share cultures and find commonalities, rather than differences.”

Last year, cross-cultural workshops were held in schools, as a partnership between the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange and Prince Albert Common Ground. Organizers from that program told the Herald that the goal of the program was to correct misconceptions from both sides about the plights of the other.

This new series of events, open to all, also seeks to bridge that gap. It’s been named diversity night

“It’s a showcase of the many cultures we have here in Prince Albert,” Hassler said.

Thursday’s event features storytelling and a hoop dance demonstration from Lawrence Roy Junior and appetizers from Nicaragua.

After the demonstration, there will be an interactive activity where attendees will be given an opportunity to learn how to hoop dance. Hassler said she hopes each of the three diversity nights will feature food and traditions of a handful of different cultures.

“It will increase awareness about those cultures and bring people together to learn more,” Hassler said.

The multicultural council is hoping to hold the second diversity night in late January, and the third in March, hopefully around March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Thursday’s event is presented by the multicultural council, SaskCulture, the Municipal Cultural Action Plan and the City of Prince Albert at 1410C Central Avenue. It’s free to attend and is expected to run from 6-7 p.m.