Linklater helps celebrate Aboriginal Day

George Bowditch
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Lyndon Linklater continues to reach out and shed some light on the often misunderstood perspective of First Nations people. As one of the featured speakers at the Aboriginal day celebrations at the Swift Current Library on June 17, he again spoke in order help bridge the gap in respect to First Nations people and their story.

Lyndon Linklater continues to reach out and shed some light on the often misunderstood perspective of First Nations people. As one of the featured speakers at the Aboriginal day celebrations at the Swift Current Library on June 17, he again spoke in order help bridge the gap in respect to First Nations people and their story.

Linklater, from the Office of the Treaty Commission, has been tireless in his efforts to connect with youth and communities to share his message.

"One of the ways I try and deliver awareness and enlightenment is by story telling. I have a knack for working with young people in the schools...in the last 10 years I have probably spoken to over 30,000 people in our province from corner to corner and to all ages."

Linklater feels that while a lot of people in Saskatchewan previously did not understand First Nations culture, things are changing for the better.

"The majority of the people in our province simply were not taught (about First Nations culture), and that is changing, the OTC is one organization that is trying to do something. They have actually been successful in developing a teaching resource kit that is available to all schools in the province."

Even the Premier of Saskatchewan is helping educate people on First nations culture.

"Premier Brad Wall made it compulsory in the province from K to 6 to learn about Treaties and so that is something new. That is a great accomplishment and more and more people are becoming aware and more informed."

Linklater noted that much of the framework to continue moving forward is already contained in existing Treaties.

"What I find is that a lot of people are simply unaware of things we call Treaties and they are a fundamental building block of our country of Canada and a fundamental building block of our province. The first Nations People have a wonderful story to tell and also have a lot to contribute to the success of our province which is something we all want. It is something we will all benefit from."

Linklater finds that when all levels of government work together, everyone benefits.

"The irony of it is we have a casino here in Swift Current, and that in itself is an accomplishment of different levels of government; the provincial, the federal and the Indian government coming together and creating economic opportunity for everyone and this little town, I am told 16,000 people. What you are going to see, and I think you are already seeing it, is more and more aboriginal people are going to be moving here and working here and becoming part of the community."

"In the last year and a half or so I have participated in reaching out and promoting multi-culturalism because it makes sense because most of the people here have lived all their lives and have a relatively small aboriginal population here compared to Saskatoon or Regina."

Lois Standing was also a featured presenter at the Library's Aboriginal Day, making a presentation on First Nations Women's dresses.

Standing has done extensive research on First Nations Women's clothing and her background in designing clothing.

The dress that Standing had on display at the library was not just a simple creation, as a lot of research went into it as well.

"It is not so much just the sewing part. It is the time part of the research as well; going into history and looking at how dresses were made a long time ago to keep that same essence and understanding of how dresses were made with the materials that were used in the past. A dress like this might take time like the actual researching; asking questions of my grandparents and going to visit some museums and the collection of materials."

She believes that her work with First Nations Women's dresses in both research and design has helped her identify with her culture

"I think through my research and my background and clothing design has helped to link me to my past and my identity, as well as to who I am as a First Nations woman and a Dakota woman. That has been really important for me as well as to help maintain my culture and to be able to carry that on as well."

gbowditch@swbooster.com

Organizations: First Nations Women, Office of the Treaty Commission, Swift Current Library

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada, Swift Current Saskatoon Regina Dakota

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