(Fort McMurray, AB – September 21, 2022) – The Wood Buffalo 2023 Arctic Winter Games Host Society is pleased to have received a traditional button blanket and a #91 Truth and Reconciliation flag and pins from the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society to carry on its path of reconciliation education.
During a cultural celebration at Doug Barnes Cabin as part of the Host Society’s second Mission Conference on September 13, Nyla Klugie-Migwans, former President of the Community Engagement Committee for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, presented the Host Society with these traditional items which were created to honour and act upon reconciliation.
“The button blanket acknowledges that reconciliation is part of healing our community through sport and cultural activities,” said Klugie-Migwans. “It is through this legacy that we continue to inspire and be the change for the generations to come.”
Hazel Bunbury, an Elder of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council of Whitehorse gave the blanket the name Lech’I Dün K’e, which means “Like One People”. The Host Society will showcase the blanket during the 2023 event and the Culture Committee will collaborate with Nyla Klugie-Migwans on supporting the legacy of Whitehorse 2020.
“On behalf of the people of my traditional territory and homelands, we share our gratitude in the gifting of this sacred ceremonial item. In receiving this gift, we promise to care and honour all that it represents – to protect us, to warm us and to forever connect us to the Yukon,” said Allison Flett, Co-Chair of the Host Society’s Culture Committee. “It was heartwarming to hear Nyla’s passion and to bond through the spirit of kinship and culture, knowing we will carry on the same path forward of Truth and Reconciliation.”
During the cultural exchange, the Host Society presented Klugie-Migwans with a traditional drum created by Randy Marten.
The Arctic Winter Games is an international biennial celebration of circumpolar sports and culture taking place in the Wood Buffalo region from January 29 – February 4, 2023. The Games will highlight the region and its culture through the spirit of sport to an international audience
and visitors from around the world. The week-long event will see participants from our own backyard along with international Circumpolar north regions during their Time to Shine.
- Button Blankets are typically used as ceremonial robes and are often given as gifts at ceremonial events. They are worn over the back.
- Community members in Yukon sewed additional buttons on the blanket. The sewing of the buttons from community members was to be part of education on Reconciliation and symbolizes unity.
- CTA #91 – We call upon the officials and host communities of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth Games to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events.
- The Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games were cancelled days on March 7, 2020, days before they were supposed to begin due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.