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Glen Anaquod Memorial Tipi Raising Competition winners announced

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: December 22, 2020 4:00 p.m.

Glen Anaquod
Glen Anaquod Photo: U of R Photography

In 2008, Cultural & Traditional Advisor Glen Anaquod (1948 - 2011) from Muscowpetung First Nation initiated the University of Regina’s annual Tipi-Raising Competition. Twelve years later, in the midst of a global pandemic, competitors really exemplified what this event has to teach about overcoming adversity, gaining strength and understanding from what the tipi symbolizes, and keeping  an important cultural tradition alive. 

Anaquod joined the University of Regina’s Aboriginal Student Centre (now the ta-tawâw Student Centre) in 2006 and he was able to combine his two life’s passions; his love for his culture and traditions with his commitment to education. It was Advisor Anaquod’s wish to involve the University campus faculty, students, staff, and wider community in tipi-raising competitions. It was also his wish that the ta-tawâw Student Centre continue to host this annual event after his passing, so the staff knew it was important to ensure the competition went ahead in 2020, even if it looked a bit different. 

The event typically brings over 30 teams and hundreds of spectators to the Dr. Lloyd Barber Academic Green to experience tipi building first hand. With all in-person events on campus cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the ta-tawâw Student Centre worked to implement changes that would allow people to participate in this time-honoured event from their own locations. After consulting the Anaquod family, they settled on inviting competitors to assemble teams within their households and use items they were able to find to build their tipis. 

In keeping with tradition from past competitions, Nick Crighton BKin’09 and Roland Kay, Elder’s Helper at First Nations University, created an instructional video on how to raise a tipi. Kelly Quewezance BSW’09 (one of Glen’s former students) offered an honour song for the competition.   

“While there were fewer competitors this year – due to the immense challenges that come with living during a pandemic – the entries received are a true testament to the competitors’ commitment to practicing cultural traditions and the lessons we can learn from doing so,” says Rachel Janzé, Program Coordinator for the ta-tawâw Student Centre.   

The following winners were selected from the entries received: 

High School Category: Miller Comprehensive High School 

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Miller Comprehensive High School
teamed up with Cst. Tony Kapusa
and won in the High School
category Photo: Courtesy of Miller
Comprehensive
High School

Three Miller students teamed up with Miller’s School Resource Officer Cst. Tony Kapusa and utilized Anaquod’s teaching of how the Matriarchs gave instructions on how to set up the home fire tipi. Grade 11 student Aaliyah Chartrand lead Cst. Kapusa and the two other students as the team set up a six-foot tipi in Miller’s Cultural Room. Miller High School’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Student Advisors Chasity Delorme and Amanda Missens organized the activity with the intent to build positive relationships between students and the school’s Resource Officer.

Women’s Category: Holly Yuzicapi 

Holly Yuzicapi purchased a tipi this past spring for her outdoor art studio. She set herself a goal of being able to raise the tipi on her own, and tried it for the first time this fall. When she heard about the Glen Anaquod Memorial Tipi Raising Competition, she decided to set it up again wearing her powwow outfit. You can see Yuzicapi setting up her tipi completely on her own in this remarkable time-lapse video.   

Yuzicapi’s ability to raise a full-size tipi independently demonstrates the extraordinary strength, determination and spirit of women to build and maintain a home. She credits her mom, and her family as a whole, for helping her to learn about her culture. 

12-223.jpg

Holly Yuzicapi won in the Women’s
category
Credit: Courtesy of Holly Yuzicapi

“My mom is such a treasure; she has always helped us and other people understand culture and the role of women. The strength of my family and extended family has always been my inspiration to learn as many cultural things as possible,” says Yuzicapi. “Those old beliefs are still the stories in our modern homes.  I feel truest to our ancestors when I can do the things of my ancestors.” 

The Women’s category is hosted in memory of Constance Faye Dubois, honoring women whose beliefs in tradition, culture, and family are transcended in the tipi and all that it represents. 

University Category: Deidre Epp and family 

Deidre Epp is a first-year Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work student at First Nations University’s Northern Campus and her son Mark Epp is a second-year student at the University of Regina studying linguistics. For Epp and her family, building their tipi together was an extremely meaningful experience.

child and tipi
Deidre Epp and her family’s tipi
won in the University category
Credit: Courtesy of Deidre Epp

Epp is from the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and grew up with foster parents (the Lehouillier family) in Debden, Saskatchewan. Growing up, Epp and her siblings were among the few other Indigenous foster students at their school, and she didn’t have any knowledge of her First Nations culture. When Epp was 19 she met her husband, and the pair shared the same feeling of disconnect from their families and their culture. The couple now have eight children, and together, they are working on reclaiming their culture while involving their children. 

After watching a video where Glen Anaquod shares his teachings and discusses how he was taught to raise a tipi, Epp and her family got to work on their own. They travelled to the bush north of Prince Albert to collect the poles and left tobacco and thanked Creator for giving them the trees for the poles. At their home in St. Louis, they peeled the poles and let them dry for a few days. Once the poles were ready, they raised the tipi together as a family. 

“This experience has brought me closer to earth, closer to nature, and closer to who we are as people,” says Epp. “Being a student at First Nations University has made me feel at home. I feel like I have come full circle, and this tipi represents where we are.” 

This winter, Epp and her family plan to put a tarp over their tipi and turn it into a smoker to cook meat. 

K+S Potash has generously sponsored the Glen Anaquod Memorial Tipi Raising Competition since 2013. The ta-tawâw Student Centre is grateful for this ongoing partnership with K+S to ensure that despite physical distancing, we are still able to gather virtually together as a community and encourage people to continue to practice these teachings. 

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