April 28th, 2017

Museum celebrates Black History Month


By Schnarr, J.W. on February 12, 2017.

African-Caribbean community being recognized in city

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

The Galt Museum and Archives was the site of a celebration of African and African-Caribbean culture Saturday as the cty came together in honour of Black History Month.

Paul Tokode, one of the event organizers, said the event was intended to showcase African and African-Caribbean culture in the Lethbridge community.

Events included dancing and drumming from different parts of the world.

“It was just different talents and different acts, and represented the different cultures within the African-Caribbean Society,” he said. “It was a showcase to show the beauty, richness, and joy that we bring to the City of Lethbridge as a whole.”

Tokode said he has been in the city for about five years, and the African-Caribbean community has grown steadily in the city during that time.

“We feel like we’re starting to get bigger,” he said. “And the bigger we get, the more we feel we are starting to be recognized more in the community.”

“Lethbridge is a very inclusive and diverse community. We felt we should use Black History Month to celebrate that, and to show the community who we are and the richness of us.”

Tokode said many people may not realize the important contributions people of African descent have made to local history, citing John Ware as an example.

Ware was a cowboy of African descent who was born a slave and went on to become a pioneer in the Alberta ranching industry. In 1882, he brought the first cattle to the region.

He was also well known for his ability to ride and train horses.

“We are a very diverse and gifted group,” Tokode said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on Feb. 1, asking Canadians to reflect on those key contributions Canadians of African descent have made.

“Every February, Canadians celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging the remarkable achievements and contributions that Canadians of African and Caribbean descent have made to Canada,” he stated.

“I urge all Canadians to reflect on the bravery and courage of individuals like Viola Desmond, a prominent Black Canadian businesswoman who changed the course of Canadian history by defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946.”

Tokode said the month is something to be shared by Canadians of all backgrounds.

“Black History Month is not just for black people,” he said. “And it’s not just for white people. It’s an occasion where everyone can feel proud to be part of such a wonderful, inclusive community.

“Canada is a beautiful place. It’s given us the opportunity to be with people from all different races and religions to come together.

“Let’s just celebrate that diversity, and let’s celebrate the pioneers who laid the foundations for us to be here today.”

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