Library partners with Trellis to host First Nations programming

Over the course of the month, the Strathmore Municipal Library, in partnership with Trellis, has been hosting cultural programming for education regarding local First Nations.

“First, we offered soapstone carving, and we ran six different programs for that … and that was geared toward certain age groups. Three of them were geared towards homeschool families, one was a youth, one was a teenage, and one was an adult program,” said Laura Henderson, library public services coordinator. “This is a partnership with Trellis. It is a grant-funded program, so the idea is to promote Indigenous programming in the community to make it a welcoming space for everyone and to have events that include everybody.”

Regarding the soapstone carvings, the first session was hosted Jan. 28, and the final program was held in mid-February, according to Henderson.

Through the grant program with Trellis, the library also hosted a two-night event for creating ribbon skirts, and a “Seven Sacred Teachings Yoga” day.

The ribbon skirt session, though not attended by as many as the soapstone carving, according to Henderson still attracted a very excited audience and was hosted at the Trellis Commons, with sewing machines having been provided for attendees to use.

Another Yoga session is scheduled to take place on March 4, and a Kairos Blanket exercise will occur on March 10.

“All of the events were registration required, just to make sure that we had the right amounts of materials and the instructors were prepared,” said Henderson. “The soapstone ones filled up very quickly and were very well attended. They were very popular; the feedback suggested people wanted to do it again.”

The hope, she added, is to give locals an opportunity to experience First Nations culture, to understand it, and to provide a unique way for people to be immersed in a cultural experience.

At the conclusion of its programming in March, the library will be at the end of its programming grant with Trellis, though there are hopes to engage in a similar partnership in the future to continue hosting First Nations programming.

“We partner with Trellis on a number of different things and if the grant works with another organization, then we are happy to partner with somebody. This one really naturally fit with Trellis,” said Henderson. “I think this is a great opportunity. The feedback leading up to it was really positive … people have said they want another option to engage with Indigenous culture.”

The Kairos blanket exercise will be hosted at the Strathmore Civic Centre on March 10 beginning at 6 p.m.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times