Fort Edmonton Park is hosting several Indigenous perspective workshops this fall as part of its new Indigenous Peoples Experience. The new workshops aim to connect people to Edmonton’s Indigenous history, narratives, culture and traditions.
The workshops will begin in early September and are designed to enhance the diverse Indigenous voices and perspectives of amiskwaciwâskahikan, also known as Beaver Hills House or Edmonton.
"Partnering with Indigenous businesses is an extension of our existing relations with the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta", said Darren Dalgleish, President and CEO of Fort Edmonton Management Company. "We want to bring fun, engaging and totally authentic experiences to our guests and we want to continue to bring light to Indigenous narratives, customs and traditions."
The first series of workshops will be held on Sept. 8, 13 and 15 and will focus on birch bark basket making and an introduction to rosehip plant harvesting. It will also include a guided plant walk around the Fort Edmonton Park trails.
The second workshop series is scheduled for Sept. 20, 22, 27, 29 and Oct. 4 and offers participants a greater understanding of Indigenous art and how the land provides the elements to create it. Participants will embark on a guided plant walk around the Fort Edmonton Park trails and learn about the traditional uses of quills and wolf willows, and how to prepare natural dyes to create their own piece of jewelry.
Workshops will be led by Natalie Pepin, a Métis woman and Harvard graduate who seeks to bring her traditions, stories and culture to life.
“These workshops not only offer a chance to learn about birch bark basket making and working with porcupine quills but also to begin to understand the deep importance of these skills in connecting us to the land around us," said Pepin. "In learning these skills, we create beautiful art, it is true. But, more importantly, we are taking part in a legacy of stewarding traditional skills."
EPCOR is providing a $25,000 grant from its Heart + Soul Fund to the Fort Edmonton Management Company to help support the Indigenous-focused workshops and education programs. In total, EPCOR has invested $2.25 million in pandemic relief to Edmonton arts, cultural, and charitable organizations.
“Indigenous traditions, culture and stories are the heart and soul of our community. I couldn’t think of a more important initiative to support,” said John Elford, Senior Vice President of Corporate Services for EPCOR.
Nestled in Edmonton’s scenic river valley on 158 acres of wooded parkland, Fort Edmonton Park is one of the largest living history museums in Canada.