Kevin Wesaquate’s project for Locals Only will re-Indigenize Riversdale’s ecology by planting over 200 misaskatomina (Saskatoon berry shrubs) throughout the neighbourhood. Accompanied by emerging spoken word poet, Alex Allery (aka Loud Voice), Kevin started his project by leading two workshops.
The first workshop, held on May 5th, offered teachings on the importance of misaskwatomina to the Indigenous community alongside a series of exercises to help learn how to assert yourself through spoken word poetry.
The second workshop, held on May 26th, demonstrated how to plant and care for misaskwatomina, followed by the planting of approximately 200 misaskwatomina near the river in Victoria Park.
Kevin’s project will culminate with a final kickoff event that will include the sharing of stories about berry picking by Indigenous Elders and spoken word poets.
Saturday, May 5th, I2 pm to 2 pm
Workshop led by Kevin Wesaquate, accompanied by Alex Allery
AKA Artist-Run, 424 20th Street West
This workshop explored the implementation of an Indigenous food source – misaskwatomina (Saskatoon berry shrub) – within an urban environment. Teachings on the importance of these plants to the Indigenous community were offered, and Kevin showed participants how to assert themselves through the use of spoken word poetry.
This workshop was run as part of our Locals Only Summer Launch that took place throughout the day on May 5th.
Saturday, May 26th, I2 pm to 3 pm
misaskwatomina planting day
Learning to plant: An ecologist from Meewasin taught participants how to plant and care for misaskwatomina. Each participant received a misaskwatomin to plant in their own yard, with the request that it be planted in a publicly-accessible space (eg. along an alley) so that in future years people walking through Riversdale will be able to share in the harvest. Participants stayed and help plant misaskwatomina in Victoria Park immediately following. A free lunch was also served.
Planting: In collaboration with Meewasin, approximately 200 misaskwatomina were planted along the river in Victoria Park.
The future location for the misaskwatomina orchard can be found here.