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Okotoks Museum exhibit commemorates Indigenous History Month

The travelling exhibit, on loan from Galt Museum in Lethbridge, is on display until June 29.
Kathy Coutts gives a walk-through of the Okotoks Museum's latest exhibit, "Iiksisawaato’p Kainaiwa O’tookátákssin: Maana’pii ki niita’piitsitapii saatstakssin," or "We Visit with Kainaiwa Beadwork: A New Way and the Real Way of Design," on display until June 29.

Indigenous culture is once again being celebrated in Okotoks, this time through a new exhibit at the Okotoks Museum and Archives.

Iiksisawaato’p Kainaiwa O’tookátákssin: Maana’pii ki niita’piitsitapii saatstakssin, or We Visit with Kainaiwa Beadwork: A New Way and the Real Way of Design, is an exhibit that highlights the significance of traditional Kainai and Niitsitapi beadwork.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to have it available to the Okotoks community," said Kathy Coutts, Okotoks Museum and Archives specialist. "It's very important that this exhibit was curated by members of the Blackfoot so that they tell their history, and not filtered through a non-Indigenous curator."

The travelling exhibit, on loan from the Galt Museum in Lethbridge until June 29, was curated by Hali Heavy Shield, Kalli Eagle Speaker and Carol Williams.

On display are several text panels with photographs depicting both contemporary and traditional beadwork, with information on how the traditional beading is incorporated into more modern work.

Also featured in the exhibit are historic photos of the Blackfoot, with the photos showing traditional beadwork as seen in their headbands, necklaces, skirts, jackets, gauntlets and other items. 

National Indigenous History Month, commemorated every June, is a great opportunity for community members to learn more about Indigenous culture and heritage, said Coutts.

"It shouldn't be recognized just one month out of the year," she added. "It's something that should be celebrated year-round, and any opportunity that we get as a museum to bring in or facilitate Indigenous exhibits, we welcome that opportunity."

The Okotoks Museum and Archives is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to enter.

There is also a video component featured in the exhibit, which can be viewed on the Galt Museum website.

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips or questions about his articles, Amir can be reached at [email protected].
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