Teepees erected at the Lions Festival of Lights in Calgary – Calgary | The Canadian News

People worked together to erect poles in Confederation Park on Sunday, setting up five teepees for the 35th Lions Festival of Lights in Calgary.

Organizers say the event is Calgary’s largest free Christmas light showcase, comprised of around 500,000 lights at 14 Street and 24 Avenue NW.

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Festival president Otto Silzer said the installation of teepees honors indigenous peoples and called the effort “one of the most important things we can do” for reconciliation.

“We have the teepees as part of our display, but we have never had indigenous people show us how to do it, how to properly place them and bless the teepees, so we thought today would be a good time to do that at this appropriate time,” he said.

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The teepees were erected during the installation of the Lions Festival of Lights in Calgary on Sunday, November 7, 2021.

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Siksika elder Herman Yellow Old Woman blessed the teepees at Sunday’s event, noting that the exhibit recognizes indigenous children who never made it home.

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“It is an honor for me to know that you are honoring the survivors of the residential schools and the children of the Nameless Graves,” he said.

“Everything that has to do with our nation, our tribes, our history, for us natives, there is a lot of spirituality there, and we know that there will be some spirit among these teepees.”

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Silzer said the festival is scheduled to begin without fanfare due to COVID-19 on November 27 and will run until January 8.

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