Chetwynd celebrates 50 Years since transition of Moccasin Flats to "Sesame Street"

·2 min read

For those who grew up on Wabi Crescent, or "Sesame Street," life wasn't always sunshine and roses — but the relationships built there are worth celebrating, despite some hardships.

This weekend, Le-Anne McFeeters, Lennette Desjarlais, Leatha Redhead Dowd and Adele Avery organized and are inviting residents of Chetwynd to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Moccasin Flats residents' relocation to Wabi Crescent.

Desjarlais says the organizers have been planning and fundraising for the event since February.

"A lot of us have moved away, but Sesame Street is still our home. We need to mourn those who we have lost and celebrate the new generation that is here, show them where they come from, where home is," said Desjarlais.

Fifty years ago, the residents who lived in an area on the outskirts of Chetwynd, known as Moccasin Flats, were relocated to Wabi Crescent by the provincial government to make way for the Chetwynd Airport.

This neighbourhood quickly and affectionately became known as "Sesame Street" as Mildred "Big Bird" McFeeters and her partner, Burt, and her son, Oscar McFeeters, lived right next door to Ernie Noskiye.

Life wasn't always easy on Sesame Street due to many factors, including the impacts of a lack of jobs in the area and families being unable to conduct traditional practices such as hunting and trapping. Despite this, Sesame Street was a tight-knit community that looked out for each other and always found a reason to laugh.

"We stuck together through thick and thin. We're like one big family. That's why it is so important to reconnect now," said Avery.

Initially, organizers were planning for a small gathering, but through word of mouth, more and more people have committed to celebrating Sesame Street, said Avery.

"There was an overwhelming desire to gather and reconnect and to laugh, especially after the isolation and loss that the pandemic caused," said Avery.

The District of Chetwynd is giving the use of Rotary Park and its facilities for the three-day event, which is where the original Moccasin Flats was located.

The festivities begin Friday at 2 p.m. The weekend is full of family activities, including a horseshoe tournament, bingo, jigging and more.

There will be a showing of the Moccasin Flats two-part documentary, which shares the history in stories and pictures.

The mic will also be open throughout the weekend for anyone who wants to share a story and some history with the visiting crowd.

Kirsta Lindstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Energeticcity.ca

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