For the first time in 106 years, an Indigenous float will appear in the Santa Claus Parade

Aside from elves, candy canes and of course, Santa, people at this year’s Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade will also see a nearly three-metre high Dakota-style headdress among the many floats.
The headdress, seen here while still under construction, was painted with the help of over 30 Indigenous youth groups from across Southern Manitoba. (CBC)

Aside from elves, candy canes and of course, Santa, people at this year's Santa Claus Parade this Saturday will also see a nearly three-metre high Dakota-style headdress among the many floats.

That's because for the first time in the parade's 106-year history, there will be official representation from Indigenous peoples.

The Southern Chiefs' Organization will have a float designed by Indigenous architect David Thomas.

"Southern Chiefs' [Organization] is very proud of the fact we have the opportunity to showcase with pride our culture, youth and communities, at the Santa Claus Parade," said SCO Grand Chief Terrance Nelson.

Young people painted massive headdress 

Parade organizer Ron Mark says families are in for a treat. 

"Having Indigenous representation helps us round off the different aspects that make up Winnipeg," he said.

The feathers on the massive headdress have been painted with the help of 30 Indigenous youth groups from across the province. The float will include traditional dancers, and local singer Rhonda Head, who will be singing Christmas carols in the Cree language.

"It's going to have a nice look," said Mark. "It will be very colourful and very exciting for everyone to see."

The parade kicks off at 5 p.m. on Young Street and Portage Avenue, with Santa Claus making his first appearance around 5:15.  Families that are attending can expect to see at least one hour of floats as they parade down Portage Avenue.