June 16th, 2024

Indigenous exhibit kicks off new season at Fort Whoop-Up

By Alexandra Noad - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 7, 2024.

Herald photo by Alexandra Noad Fort Whoop-Up is set to open for the season with the exhibit Lii Buflo, which shares the story of the relationship between the Metis and the buffalo.

Fort Whoop-Up has officially opened its doors for the summer. Along with the Niitsitapi gallery which opened last summer, there is the travelling exhibit, Lii Buflo, which explores the Metis relationship with the buffalo.

The exhibit was created by a committee of Metis community members, in partnership with the Alberta Heritage Foundation of St. Albert.

Becky Friesen, Elk Island promotions officer, says the goal of the exhibit to promote reconciliation through storytelling.

“It aims to contribute to reconciliation and healing by telling a unique story through a mighty voice and to share the really important historical relationship, the spiritual between the bison and the Metis peoples,” said Friesen.

Lii Buflo consists of 10 six-foot panels which all include graphics from Metis artist Jesse Gouchey.

Tyler Stewart, curator at the Galt Museum, says the artwork brings the exhibit to life.

“One of the most exciting things about this project is that not only does it do a great job of storytelling, the exhibit at its core, is also showcasing the artwork of Jesse Gouchey, a Metis artist and that’s something I think just helps bring this space to life in a really exciting and dynamic way,” said Stewart.

Friesen says Parks Canada and Indigenous people are partners when in comes to protecting the natural and historic heritage Canada has and they look forward to continuing collaboration.

“Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in presenting and protecting examples of natural and historical heritage in Canada, and this is just one example. We’re really looking forward to continuing to partner with Indigenous people to present examples of our shared heritage through exhibit,” said Friesen.

Along with the new exhibit, Fort Whoop-Up has upgraded its entrances to make it wheelchair accessible. Staff have also upgraded the horse paddock and made a new greenhouse, in which they hope to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables including sweetgrass and Saskatoon berries to share with the community.

The fort will be open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and will kick off its full season on June 21 with many activities for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

A full list of events happening at the fort can be found at http://www.fort.galtmuseum.com/events

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