May 25th, 2024

Kainai lights festival shines a message of survival and unity

By Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2021.

Kainai Elders and members of the Kainai Children Services board of directors sit under a display of lights at Red Crow park in Standoff.  Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

The Kainaiwa Children’s Services Corporation kicked off their Ka Mo Taan Festive Lights 2021 on Friday at Red Crow Park in Standoff. 

They had been planning this event for a few months, and were finally able to kick it off on Friday after some setbacks due to strong winds. 

“The importance of having that, is because of the social issues and some of the issues that have been happening on the reserve and we wanted something positive,” said Marcel Weasel Head, chair of Kainai Children Services.

In the evenings, Red Crow Park now has a series of festive light displays spread throughout the trees for people to stop and enjoy. This week, the Ka Mo Taan Festive Lights go from 4 – 8 p.m. on Dec. 7, and start at 5 p.m. Dec. 8 – 10, Dec. 13-17, and Dec. 20-24.

When deciding what to name the festival, they asked one of their elders what the best wording would be and Bruce Wolf Child suggested Ka Mo Taan, which means survival.

Wolf Child says this word came to him in a dream he had while in a coma in February 2021 while fighting COVID at the Chinook Regional Hospital where he stayed for a few weeks. 

Wolf Child said that in his dream he was walking on a trail and someone stopped him and asked him where he was going, to which he answered someone sent him over there and he was supposed to follow the trail.

“The old lady that stopped me said that I wasn’t going to where everyone else was going,” said Wolf Child.

Wolf Child added that he was told his people needed to start praying together, stop the division among them and that they need to start getting along. 

“She told me to go back home and tell my people to pray hard and to use the word Ka Mo Taan,” said Wolf Child.

Wolf Child added that by using this word as the name of the festival, he wants to encourage his people to pray hard, because as the old lady said in his dream, if they don’t pray hard it will be hard to get over it.  

And therefore, the board decided to go ahead and use the word Ka Mo Taan as part of their Christmas Light Festival name. 

“We lost a lot of our members to COVID as well as across the Nation, so Ka Mo Taan means survival and this is what we want to do,” said Weasel Head. 

Weasel Head said they asked all of the departments to participate with weekly events and activities that will take place from different departments and entities of the Blood Tribe as Ka Mo Taan runs throughout the month of December. 

On Friday evening at the opening ceremony, the Kainai board of education provided over a 1000 meals for their members. This week the Blood Tribe Police will be explaining some of their programs and services they offer. 

“We want to showcase what the departments are all about, what they have to offer and bring the community back together as we move forward into 2022,” said Weasel Head.

Weasel Head added that some of the departments will talk about what they have to offer and what they have overcome as they build their nation to continue to move forward. 

“We survived through a lot of issues throughout our years, throughout residential schools, murdered and missing women and now COVID,” said Weasel Head. 

He said all those things they have survived makes the word Ka Mo Taan very fitting for the event. 

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