July 12th, 2024

Dragon Boat Festival features cultural learning experience

By Alexandra Noad - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 22, 2024.

The Dragon Boat Festival being held at Henderson Lake this weekend will have a new cultural learning experience at the ATB KidZone.
University of Lethbridge graduates, Jerett Sitter who is Chinese, and Henry Heavyshield who is Blackfoot, collaborated to make an interactive project of both visual arts and storytelling.
Heavyshield says he really enjoyed collaborating with Sitter on this project.
“I’m really stoked on his work. I’ve seen some of his murals, illustrations for magazine, band posters like his works all over town. I never actually kind of worked with with an illustrator or muralist this close before, especially generating collaborative work together from scratch and it was just really cool.”
The indigenous and Chinese were both marginalized groups and learned to rely on each other. Heavysheild’s grandparents became close friends with the Chinatown shop owners in Lethbridge because they were banned from other shops because they were Blackfoot.
Kimberlee Davis, Regional Director, ATB Wealth says while ATB is a long time supporter of the Dragon Boat Festival, they also wanted to recognize Treaty 7 land the festival is held on.
“We’re honored and and really felt motivated to help celebrate the both the Chinese origins of the Dragon Boat and the First Nations people of the traditional territory of Treaty 7, while providing some learning opportunities for the community members,” said Davis.
Both Heavyshield and Sitter will be present at the KidZone on Saturday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. to help guide visitors through the experience. Heavyshield will be doing readings of his story Ikkaayayisskattsiiyi (The Race), the written work that accompanies the interactive colouring page.
Heavyshields hope this interactive experience will help build relationships through art.
“The mural and accompanying poem are about celebrating the land, storytelling, the spirit of competition, and moments like this weekend’s festival when we gather together as a community,” said Heavyshield.

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