Lebret Chiefs Deck
The Lebret Pageant of 1925
The 8th graphic to Colonialism Skateboards explores the historic Lebret Pageant of 1925. This event took place in Lebret, Saskatchewan, which was also the site of the Lebret Residential School (one of the last running in Canada). An estimated number of 3500 Indigenous peoples and 2000 non-Indigenous peoples came by train or horse from surrounding areas to participate.
During this time, Indigenous peoples were not allowed off reserve without a Pass and Permit signed by an Indian Agent. Indigenous peoples were also forbidden to practice their culture or traditional beliefs. The Indian Act (enforced by Indian Agents) took complete control over every aspect of Indigenous people’s lives. Only at certain public events approved by government officials, like the Lebret Pageant, could Indigenous peoples display their culture and traditions to the non-Indigenous peoples, who viewed them as being primitive. The pageant was a true celebration of colonialism for settlers in Canada.
There were notable Chiefs present on this day from surrounding Indigenous communities, including Chief Standing Buffalo, Chief Masqua of Piapot, Chief Echasem Gambler of Muscowpetung, Chief Wachane of Pasqua and Chief Red Dog (some of which are in the photo). Other guests included Lieutenant-Governor Newlands and Archbishop Mathieu, etc.
The photo is symbolic of the resiliency and importance of Indigenous people’s identity, culture, and traditions in Canada, but also reflects the cultural genocide and oppression against Indigenous families and communities. These colonial policies and ideologies continue to affect Indigenous peoples lives to this day.
Photo Credit: Saskatchewan Archives. R_D178 – Lebret Chiefs - L-R Little Sioux (Apeschepwot); The Dog (Achim); Bangs; White Eagle (Wahbikewew); Moneghan; Sugar (Seeseebasquat); Nahpaynin; Standing (Nanapowais); Sits in a Heap (Squahpew); George Gopher (Mistaniquatchas); Rock Thunder (Assiniwipeyes); The Bear (Masqua); Red Dog (Meekwowachim); T. Fisher (Mowmayesew); Day Walker (Keeseekowpimotah); The Flag (Squahun); The Floor (Moostatik); The Swamp (Muskego); Frog Leg (Ayikepwan); Buffalo Bow (Kamostosachappew); The Owl (Ohoo).