Veterans Memorial Park was alive with sound and activity as the Muskoday First Nation held an event long in the making.
Working to dispel violence and promote its elimination, the community hosted its first Violence Elimination Day Music Festival, Talent Show and Craft Fair Saturday. Councillor Herman Crain, whose responsibilities include community safety and wellness, said the event came together thanks to collaborative efforts between a number of wellness organizations in the community.
Originally planned for May 13 but postponed due to rain, the community wanted to gather local and area talent to help further promote the message
“We started to notice and pay attention to the social issues we were seeing,” Crain said, who made note of violent tragedies which hit the community a number of years ago. “When bad things like that happen, you have to learn from those things.”
Three years ago it was decided Violence Elimination Day would be declared a statutory holiday in the community. But moving beyond this, the community wanted to promote violence elimination every day of the year.
With a number of programs working to address social issues in the community, the groups decided to organize a collaborative way to deal with them in an attempt to get more done by working together.
“People have come a long way and we are reaching some of our goals,” Crain said, though admitting they had a “long ways to go" on what will be “lifelong work." Despite, he was pleased to see the music festival come together.
“It was a process to get all the people thinking the same way from their silos into a collaborative setting, but this event was born from the talks and meetings we have had over the last seven years,” Crain said.
The day opened with a Pipe Ceremony and was filled with local talent alongside acts like Constant Reminder, Liza Brown and Juno Award winner Chester Knight and The Wind before concluding with fireworks.
This was the first time the community has hosted a festival of this magnitude.
“We don’t know where it is going to go or how it will grow but it will happen again,” Crain said.
A number of performers shared their own personal message of perseverance.
This was the case for Riel Bear, who performed a rap about his journey on the road to sobriety.
“There is a lot of issues out there and this event means a lot to this reserve and especially the youth. It makes them look up a little bit more,” he said. “I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and my song was a message to not to give up and that you can get through it.”
Bear added the festival was a great way to showcase local talent. He also believed it was a good outlet to provide inspiration and promote the elimination of violence.
“There are a lot of good messages out there today,” Bear said.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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