Long Plain First Nation celebrated its 148th birthday on June 20, 2024. Rosalind Merrick Was there and explained they held a barbecue for everyone as well as different activities throughout the day for most of it, geared toward the children.

“We also have a special group that came in for their Motocross, which is awesome. They fly in the air, and they do somersaults on the machines. It was just amazing. They do big jumps and everything.”

Rosalind MerrickRosalind Merrick

She noted they had Long Plain trivia questions with prizes and raffles were also taking place. They had a group called C-Weed performing live that evening with a food truck providing free food for everyone including Taco Bags.  Merrick adds it was an exciting day.

Norma Merrick was volunteering for the celebration and works with Microtel in Portage la Prairie and sat at a table for the business with games and prizes for kids.

“It's going actually pretty good. It's nice out. So, I'm enjoying myself sitting here and not having to think at the moment. There have been like a lot of kids. I'm surprised older kids are coming to play the fish game, so I'm actually pretty impressed. It's basically just a chance to give them some prizes, candy, and stuff like that. They can also enter to win a free night stay at the Microtel.”

Skye Whitford and Norma MerrickSkye Whitford and Norma Merrick

Skye Whitford joined her and is general manager at Microtel and said it was awesome and enjoyed the event tremendously.

Sandra Lamirande says she attended the event through the years.

“So far, from the looks of things, they have more activities going than they did last year. It seems like everyone's interested in the face painting as well as myself. This evening they're having a band coming in, and it's for anybody. You don’t to be a Long Plain member.”

Sandra LamirandeSandra Lamirande

Garnet Meeches is on council at the First Nation and says it’s exciting to celebrate 148 years.

“Every year is exciting as we're climbing the ladder. It's in celebration and to make sure our young ones are shown how important our birthday is for a long time. I was just talking this morning about how long of a way we have come from when I was a child. Form then until today, we came a long way. The system’s changed, as you know, as things changed through technology and our ages. I've seen a lot since I was a child and how different celebrations are made.”

He adds the First Nation is advancing and changing the celebration every year, but ensuring it's bigger and better.

Meeches says a significant addition to their community has been the water park.

“We have a skate park. An arbor, and different things in the community that are noticeable to our youth. We always ask them for direction along with our elders, of course. ‘What do you want? What do you want to see?’ It's not all our decisions, but it is our job to make it happen. A lot of these celebrations are taking our youth and elders different places. And that's where they get some of their ideas; from other people. ‘Can we have that in our community?’”

Garnet MeechesGarnet Meeches

He adds they make those visions possible for their eldersd and youth alike.

Meeches says that other years saw competitions in their Powwow Days include competitors from outside the community.

“All our monies are given out to visitors. But our own community and our youth don't get anything. So, we focus on our youth where we can circulate our monies and our dollars toward them. We pay them to come and dance for our community, so it's more traditional; the way they dance. It's not competition. For competitions, you pay big money. The number was quite high.”

He says the dollar figure was a concern for their members so they made the changes to facilitate more of their own residents gaining from the events.

“Whenever, if we use an amount of money, we spend it in the community, and it'll be kept in a community for our community members. That's our goal and that's what our thoughts are now thinking for Long Plain, itself.”

He notes they’re planning to install ball diamonds and a few more playgrounds for different parts of our community as well as the water park.

“I'm just glad to see everybody out and I hope everybody's safe.”

Fireworks were also a highlight of the night.

Joleen Roulette and Achilles McKay were there with their kids Journey, Avery, and Terry-Jo, and Jacob.

“It’s nice get out of the city,” says Achilles. "The family is enjoying the weather and the activities.”

Joleen Roulette and Achilles McKay were there with their kids Journey, Avery, and Terry-Jo, and JacobJoleen Roulette and Achilles McKay were there with their kids Journey, Avery, and Terry-Jo, and Jacob

“I tried that ball game,” says Terry-Jo. “They have to push each other and the last one standing wins. And another game required you to wear a collar and if it’s beat off, you die. I liked the large ball better. the one that um huge like you have to wear like a collar thing and it beats up you die. I liked the motor bikes. The motor bikes weren’t her last year.”