The Tipi structure replaces the Yorkton sundial

Yorkton, Sask. –

A steel teepee will replace the sundial at Yorkton on Broadway Avenue.

It all started with an idea, almost a year ago to the day, in City Center Park in Yorkton.

A city councilor noticed that there was no Indigenous representation in the park, including on the mural on the north side of the nearby Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming building.

“I said, ‘That’s wrong, there’s no Indigenous content,’” recalls Yorkton tribal leader Isabel O’Soup.

“Ironically, the idea [of a tipi] was born here on September 30.

O’Soup said it was the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation where the teepee idea really started.

It was funded entirely by the Yorkton Tribal Council, and O’Soup described it as a relief to put the first temporary poles in place on Thursday.

The teepee will be a 27-foot steel structure when unveiled in late September or early October. However, it will not be the only tepee in the community.

A second will come to the Tourism Yorkton office east of King Street. It will be 40 feet tall and constructed of wood.

The plan was passed to the city council, according to O’Soup – a degree of urgency as the old sundial was moved to the site of the heritage flour mill.

Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley beamed with pride during a blessing event on Thursday.

“This is an important time in Yorkton’s history. Truth and reconciliation have finally surfaced and this is an act to prove that we want to move forward together,” he said.

“There was not enough representation with our Aboriginal communities.

Hippsley said ideas such as erecting a teepee on the stage had also been mooted, but he described it as the “perfect” location in the former location of the sundial.

He added that the Yorkton tipi site will be the second in Canada for a municipality like Yorkton, after Medicine Hat, Alberta.

“I’m very proud of our advice – it was unanimous, there was no hesitation. The Yorkton Tribal Council was so open-minded and cooperative…the doors were open to talk, the phone line was always open,” Hippsley said.

For O’Soup, it was an emotional day.

“I tried all day not to cry. I was thinking of my grandmother, I was thinking of all the other (grandparents) who didn’t have the freedom to express their First Nations culture, their First Nations traditions…and I was thinking of all the young children. she says.

“So that they can move forward, without being ashamed of being a First Nation.