Northern Prairie Indigenous Peoples Collective puts focus on culture with Summer Solstice event

Herald file photo. Carl Garving leads a pow wow dance workshop during the 2023 Northern Prairie Indigenous Peoples Collective Summer Solstice event. The 2024 version is scheduled for Saturday at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.

Dancers, painters, storytellers, and beaders will fill the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre on Saturday for the second annual Northern Prairie Indigenous Peoples Collective Summer Solstice.

The event draws in artists from multiple disciplines with the goal of educating local youth about Indigenous culture. Northern Prairie president Janice Henry said it’s “very exciting and humbling” to be back for another year.

“We’re trying to incorporate a greater amount of cultural education for our children,” she said. “It provides them with an opportunity to really embrace our rich Indigenous culture, and also to gain a greater identity of who they really are.”

The event opens with registration at 9 a.m., followed by a teepee raising at 10 a.m. The rest of the day includes a series of workshops, activities, and performances.

Henry said last year’s event was very well received, which made them want to continue in 2024.

“More individuals and more families are contacting us regarding this event and people are excited,” she said. “People who came last year, they’re excited for this to happen because they had so much fun.”

Henry said they wanted to hold the inaugural event in June 2023, but couldn’t because they were still waiting to hear back about funding. That pushed the first event to August 2023 right before school.

Although that date worked out well, Henry said they prefer mid-June because that’s when Summer Solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere.

The event not only helps educate youth about Indigenous culture, it also gives them and their families a chance to connect with the community. Henry said many of the families are not originally from Prince Albert, so the Summer Solstice event helps them get involved.

“Our priority has always been, and will continue to be supporting cultural education, community revitalization, and community capacity building,” she said.

“We’re a very diverse community and we want to impress with our children the importance of their participation in events.”

The Northern Prairie Indigenous Peoples Collective Inc. runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre on Saturday, June 15. The event is free.

@kerr_jas •