It's been two years since the last Stoney Nakoda Pickin' Party was held and organizers of the event are hoping young blood will step forward to revive the event designed to build relationships between Cochrane and the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
The concept of the Pickin' Party was developed 14 years ago when Stoney member Buddy Wesley and Cochranite Bob Bartlett decided they wanted to create an event that would build friendships between the two communities. For years the event had a strong showing before it began to dwindle to the point it was not held in 2018.
When the Pickin' Party was conceived both Wesley and Bartlett felt music was the perfect unifier and the Nakoda Cochrane Pickin’ Party Music Jam Society was born. Each year, the Pickin' Party featured musicians from both Cochrane and Stoney Nakoda demonstrating the wealth of talent in the region.
For a resurgence to happen, Wesley and fellow committee member Andy Marshall are looking to the younger generation to step up and bring new life and new ideas to the Pickin' Party.
Marshall said he wants to see people step forward to continue the event but also bring some fresh ideas with an aim to expand the Pickin' Party to showcase more traditional Indigenous culture.
"The Nakoda people are great storytellers," said Marshall as an example of a possible addition to the day.
Marshall believes with the number of initiatives that are happening to build bridges between the Stoney people and Cochrane - language lessons put on by Wesley and the Rotary Club of Cochrane's Indigenous learning project - it's a good time to rebuild the Pickin' Party.
He would also like to see the event receive better support from both the Town of Cochrane and the Stoney Nakoda governments.
Without new people to help revive the event, Marshall said it is likely the committee will disband this year, which Wesley believes would be unfortunate.
"Music is a good therapy for every human being and it is a good therapy for Cochrane and Morley," said Wesley of why the event should continue.
Marshall said If there are others ready to take over then the current organizing committee will help. To get involved, contact Marshall at email@example.com or Wesley at 403-703-8301.