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An experience to share in Saskatchewan.

The Carry the Kettle and Nekaneet First Nations have teamed up with two levels of government to bring apiece of the past and hope for the future to tourists in southwestern Saskatchewan this summer with a new interpretive program about the Aboriginal people of the area.

"We want people to be able to look back into the past to where the First Nations have come from through their social structure to where. they are today," said Melody Nagel-Hisey, area naturalist at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

"We understand that First Nations people do things differently and that can be a barrier to acceptance in the structure of this province. We feel that if the First Nations become involved in the interpretive programs and present their own history, the visitors to the park can learn first hand.

"Telling stories about the buffalo and raising a tipi at dusk with the prairie rolling down behind the Cypress Hills--that is what the interpretive program is all about." The Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park and Fort Walsh welcome more than 500,000 visitors annually. Nekaneet and Carry the Kettle each have a member of their band on staff in the interpretive program and plans are in place for summer students from each of the First Nations to work with and mentor the interpreters.

The Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park has already successfully piloted two educational programs with students from the Maple Creek area, and is getting ready for an influx of school groups before summer holidays.

Although the first initiative is targeted at grades 4 through 12, plans are to expand into special event programs to entertain and educate all visitors to the Cypress Hills park.

If you are heading for the park this summer, watch for posters, promotional material and walk-about personnel who will provide further information on the interpretive programming.

"It is a tourism opportunity through interpretation," said Nagel-Hisey. "We'd like to educate people who come to our park about the role First Nations played in the Cypress Hills long before the park was here. We would also like to encourage more First Nations people to come out and explore the heritage of the park."

The interpretive program has nothing to do with traditional Aboriginal tourist attractions like hunting or fishing and everything to do with the culture and socialization of the First Nations who lived and travelled in the Cypress Hills.

At the other end of the province, the Meadow Lake Provincial Park and the Waterhen Lake First Nation are co-operating with the provincial and federal governments to bring the interpretive program to their northern park.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Title Annotation:Carry the Kettle and Nekaneet First Nations joint with government to promote tourism
Author:Ungar, Linda
Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Words:432
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