Fourth Annual Brabant Cultural Camp

Fourth Annual Brabant Cultural Camp

For Sally Milne and her four siblings, Brabant Lake is a special place. It’s where her parents and grandparents lived and made their living, and although Sally and her siblings now live in Stanley Mission, they still feel strong ties to the land.

Long time on the land

For Sally (73) and her siblings, five left of ten, going back to the land was the most important aspect of the camp. She and brothers Jeho McKenzie (the oldest at 80), Moses McKenzie (70), Ben McKenzie (69) and sister Barb Sinclair (66), remember the old days when they travelled by canoe all summer and dog-team all winter.

All five were raised in the area, where their family had trap-lines for generations. They want to make sure people know that these are their traditional lands, and that there is evidence of occupation dating back 2,500 years.

An excavation by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in 1998, following two forest fires in 1987 and 1995 that laid the hills bare, found evidence of quartz quarries, tool production areas, spear points, pottery-making, and signs of ceremonial activities. Ben McKenzie himself discovered a 2,500-year-old Early Talthelei spear point, as will as knife points from 1906, 1919 and 1938. “We’ve always been here,” he says.

They also found a circle of seven fireplaces, which Sally feels represent the seven teachings of love, respect, honesty, peace, patience, courage and wisdom.