Saskatchewan

Prince Albert National Park Snow Days to feature Indigenous interpretive sessions

Snow Days will feature Indigenous interpretive sessions over the span of two weekends.

The national park will be hosting Indigenous interpretive sessions alongside the usual outdoor activities

Snow Days at the Prince Albert National Park runs between Feb. 15 and Feb. 24. (Government of Canada)

Snow Days are on at Prince Albert National Park. 

During week long festivities, the national park will be hosting Indigenous interpretive sessions alongside the usual outdoor activities, where leaders will share their knowledge through art, music and storytelling.

Liza Brown grew up just 20 kilometres from the Prince Albert National Park and is one of the instructors leading the interpretive sessions.

"As an artist, I tend to connect the dots a lot, with things that, perhaps, comes through my stepping back and looking at how the ancestors, grandmothers who I hear stories about," Brown told CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.

Brown's ancestors have been living in the area since before the park was created, and she will share some of their stories at the interpretive sessions.

As Prince Albert National Park celebrates Snow Days this week, they're hosting many workshops that celebrate Indigenous culture and traditions. Liza Jayne Brown will be leading sessions on talking circles, as well as drumming and singing. We'll hear about her special connection to the area and the ancestors who have lived their for generations. 9:54

She said in those days her ancestors needed to be self-reliant, and hearing stories about how they managed was inspiring. She said the grandmothers needed to know everything, should their partners not be present.

The lives of her grandfathers also provided inspiration to the stories Brown tells.

"I look at both, and I keep learning more and more stories," Brown said.

She said there's lots of talk in historical recollections about hand drumming, songs, lodges and ceremonies. The more she learns about how those were definitely part of her family's background, the more she learns about how hidden those aspects of her culture are.

"The reason why, is because, in their time period, it was against the law," she said.

"If you took part, first of all, in any of those activities, you were seen as doing something criminal … it created a very interesting dynamic amongst Indigenous people."

Bringing talking circles back home

Brown said for her, to be able to host a talking circle, gives her a chance to direct a very "focused conversation."

"Anybody who takes part in that in a particular time is focused on a particular topic or a particular event," she said. "It's also a time for people to each be heard and to also hear how other people are thinking or feeling about whatever that is that you're speaking to."

It just makes our world a better place.- Liza Jayne Brown

Brown said it's a chance for the people who are involved in a particular talking circle to share their collective experiences and how each of them adds to a particular dynamic.

She said today, families are so busy, and it doesn't matter what background people come from - families are just busy.

"Communication is so key to a health family, where you're able to share your lives together in a good way," Brown said.

She said if people wanted to, they could take the idea of having a talking circle back to their homes and families as a chance to see if it's useful learning tool in their homes.

"I just wish people would be able to be who they are, and be happy and loving and giving and therefore, it just makes our world a better place."

The festivities run between Feb. 15 and Feb. 24 this year.

WIth files from Saskatchewan Weekend