On Thursday, January 13th, The Cultural Heritage Department organized an exciting afternoon event for members and staff to learn more about, and celebrate, the community’s culture. The weather cooperated, providing beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures. There were many youth in attendance as well as a good mix of adults and Elders who were eager and excited to join in this community event.
It began in Doig’s new Tea Dance arbour with a massive bonfire to keep everyone warm. The concession in the arbour served home made soup and bannock which were delicious – thanks to Doig’s cook, Lorraine Gelata, and her and kitchen crew. Verena Hoffmann, Doig’s Cultural Heritage Resources and Language Manager, provided information to all about the activities and events available throughout the afternoon including: visits to trapper displays; story telling by elders; tea and fire making competitions as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
A few of Doig’s trappers, including Shirley Acko, Sam Acko and Andy Cardinal set up a wooden lean to as well as a canvas one and described how to lay the spruce boughs on the floor to keep warm in winter and situate the shelters to protect the trappers from bears or other wildlife. They showed participants the different tools and traps they use for a variety of wildlife, demonstrating how they worked. They displayed pelts from different animals as well.
At another station, Elder Gerry Attachie told stories to the youth, teaching them about Doig’s morals and values. Elder Garry Oker slow cooked a couple of large pieces of moose meat over the campfire and provided samples to everyone – they were delicious! Gerry also talked about hunting tools and techniques, teaching the youth about cultural activities.
Closer to the river, behind the arbour, there were several stations where participants could see how quickly they could start a fire and boil water for tea. There were lots of success stories from those achievements!
Later on in the afternoon, participants made their way over to the new concession facility where Davide Loro, Integrated Services Manager, along with Andrea Morison, contractor to Doig, equipped everyone with Doig’s newly purchased cross country ski equipment or snowshoes borrowed from a local school. Everyone was keen to try skiing or snowshoeing along the freshly packed and groomed trails, well prepared by some of Doig’s youth.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable and active day, full of learning and practising opportunities. Thanks so much to Verena and her department plus everyone else who prepared for and presented in this wonderful event.