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April 20, 2007
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Over 1,500 Visitors Expected To Attend Manitoba Event in August: Lathlin
A national event to showcase Manitoba’s Cree heritage, as well as the Grand Rapids region, will receive $100,000 in provincial support, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin has announced today.
“We are pleased to make this contribution to the National Cree Gathering which will be a great cultural festival, and we’re proud the Grand Rapids region has stepped forward to take on this ambitious event plan,” said Lathlin. “Not only will visitors from many provinces and countries learn more about Manitoba, the tourism spinoffs will also benefit the region directly.”The National Cree Gathering will be take place Aug. 13 to 17 in Grand Rapids and organizers are expecting about 1,500 visitors to attend. In addition to participants from Manitoba, attendees are expected to be welcomed from other provinces, the United States and other countries.
“We wish the organizers and the local community best of luck in their preparations for an event that will promote the Grand Rapids region and Manitoba, and will leave important legacies in cultural appreciation,” said Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk while in Grand Rapids today. “The residents of the region will also benefit from the employment training aspects of the entire event.”
“We have received inquiries about this event from as far away as Taiwan and of course, have had much interest from right here in Manitoba, other provinces and the U.S.,” said Ovide Mecredi on behalf of the Misipawistik Cree Nation, which is the main group involved in organizing the event.
The Cree gathering festival will feature activities such as sunrise ceremonies, sweat lodges, teaching lodges and feasts. Another highlighted activity will be the unity run, where young athletes, accompanied by support people and even elders, will run from the site of the previous year’s event to the current site. Last year, the festival was held in Moose Cree First Nation in northern Ontario, which is about 1,846 km from Grand Rapids.
Other activities at the event include traditional music sessions, arts and crafts, dancing, storytelling and video and new media presentations.
The organizers will oversee construction of a site to host the festival including a stage and bleachers and other local improvements will be completed before the start of the event.
This will be the 12th year the National Cree Gathering has taken place.
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