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'I know our ways won’t be lost': Treaty 4 fire keeper celebrates 31 years of stoking the flames

For Nevada Ironchild – it’s been his duty for over three decades. Ensuring the sacred flame never goes out.

“The fire is a sacred part of the ceremony and cannot be shown on camera,” he explained.

The fire keeper from Piapot First Nation was hard at work at the Treaty Four gathering in Fort Qu’Appelle – working in a position he’s been honoured to have for 31 years.

“Wherever a ceremony is we always have a fire going,” Ironchild said.

“In my position here I make sure, once we start the fire that the fire doesn’t go out until this is all over.”

He was just 13-years-old when he first began in the role. Keeping the fire is now an annual affair – for Ironchild to remember his family who have passed on.

“We both started here the same time. We’d been here 20 years,” he said. “Ever since he passed away I decided that I would keep on going, looking after this fire, it always brings me remembrance of him.”

The powwow has seen many changes over the years.

While attendance steadily grows – Ironchild is a constant – and he hopes the next generation continues on with the important tradition.

“More and more younger people get involved, I know our ways won’t be lost,” he said.

“That’s what I like to see when I come here, these younger people who come to sit here by the fire and joining in.” Top Stories

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