June 24th, 2024

Blood Tribe flicks the switch on festive light display

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 7, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Community members gather to watch the lights come on during the Ka Mo Taan Festive Lights this week at Red Crow Park in Standoff.

Kainaiwa Children’s Services in partnership with the Blood Tribe hosted its second annual opening night of the Ka Mo Taan Festive Lights Monday night in Standoff at Red Crow Park.

Community members braved the cold weather to come together for a night of festive lights and hot chocolate, gathering to watch as the park came alive under the glow of the lights.

“One of the things we are always concerned about is community, our children,” said Marcel Weasel Head, a member of the Blood Tribe council and board member of Children’s Services. “We wanted to bring all departments together to celebrate the upcoming events that we have. As Christmas is approaching, we approached all the departments and entities to work together to provide a little bit of excitement and get the spirit into the upcoming festive season. More and more of our young people are coming out, each week there will be different departments hosting annual activities for the kids, as well as a little feast for them to come share the celebration as we move forward.”

Receiving the Blackfoot name “Ka Mo Taan” during its inaugural year, the festival creates unity within the community.

“This month we are doing twelve days of Christmas (between Dec. 5 – 20) to reignite the community,” said Lisa Creighton, human resource manager at Children’s Services. “Through everything we have gone through, with COVID, sickness, passings, the opioid crisis, it’s reuniting everybody. Bringing everybody together in our community provides strength. Which helps lead us into a new beginning.”

Looking to bring an opportunity to the community, the light festival encourages those in attendance to reconnect and come together.

“We have been dealing with COVID for the last couple of years, and I think a lot of our family members did not have the opportunity to connect with our elders and young people,” said Weasel Head. “Now we can celebrate, get to meet family and friends at this special event. This is a time to celebrate.”

Using the festive season as a time to reconnect, the light festival will host various events throughout the month of December.

“It really brings out the community, together. They have bonfires, there is different programs and organizations within the tribe set up everyday,” said Creighton. “Last year was a success, we had an awesome turnout. It was great support from our community.”

The annual light festival features a drive-through Christmas light display at Red Crow Park, while community members have the option of stopping and walking through the display.

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