Along with Santa and the reindeer, kids in Winnipeg will see a giant turtle rolling through downtown on Saturday.

At this year's Santa Claus Parade, for the first time, the Anishinabe creation story of Turtle Island will be shared through a float and a written version of the creation tale, which will be handed out to kids along with candy.

"Celebrating life is part of our tradition and this is a way for us to be a part of the community and share a teaching at the same time," said Jerry Daniels, grand chief of the Southern Chiefs' Organization, on CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show.

"It's symbolic of the turtle, because we are all here on Turtle Island. It was for us to tell one of our Nanabozho stories about creation."

Daniels explained that Nanabozho is a mythical figure within Anishinabe stories. Daniels said he sees Nanabozho as sort of an Indigenous psychologist, because the stories centred around him share important values.

One of those is the story of creation and Turtle Island.

Jerry Daniels

Jerry Daniels stands beside the float's turtle shell during its construction. (Juliet Cadiz/Submitted)

Daniels said a short, simple version of that creation myth will be handed out to kids during the parade, telling the story of how the world flooded, leaving only Nanabozho and a handful of animals alive, but with no land to live on.

Nanabozho and the animals tried to get earth from deep down in the water to no avail, the story says. Eventually, a muskrat was able to dive deep and get a small ball of earth from the bottom of the ocean, and the turtle said it would carry the burden of the earth on its back.

Once the earth was put on the turtle's back, the winds blew, spreading the earth and creating North America.  

Last year was the first time an Indigenous float rolled in the parade, with the Southern Chiefs' Organization designing a three-metre-high Dene-style headdress with 19 feathers.

Daniels said including Indigenous floats helps the general population learn about Indigenous culture and stories, but it also shows Indigenous kids that they are a "vibrant part of the community."

The parade will shut down Portage Avenue and several cross streets starting at 1:30 p.m. The parade itself begins around 5 p.m.

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With files from CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show