Kristin Catherwood, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer

We at Heritage Saskatchewan are thrilled to present the 2018 Lieutenant Governor Awards this coming Wednesday, June 13th. There are seven award winners across four categories: Physical Heritage Conservation, Public Outreach, Community Development, and Intangible Cultural Heritage. While all are deserving of their awards, I am personally and particularly excited about two winners: Khedive Heritage Recreation Centre in the Physical Heritage Conservation category, and the Souris Moose Creek Region Video Series in the Intangible Cultural Heritage category. As part of my community engagement work, I spent time in both these communities and it's very rewarding to see them end up with awards in recognition of their hard work and dedication. In this blog post, I will look back at last year's Canada 150 video series to learn more about Khedive Heritage Recreation Centre. Next time, I will share some stories from my time working in Oxbow with the Souris Moose Creek region.

I grew up near Khedive and its red brick school was always a landmark in the region. One of those buildings that is easily taken for granted, a few years ago I learned about the efforts of a small group of local people to keep the building. Khedive itself has a population of fewer than 10 people, though several families live on surrounding farms. Nonetheless, a very small population has managed to do what much larger centres have not: successfully maintain a heritage building and find contemporary use for it. This inspired one of the Canada 150 videos last year, which in turn inspired the Khedive Heritage Recreation Centre to apply for a Lieutenant Governor Heritage Award. To learn more about the building, look back on this blog post from last year, reprinted below. Congratulations, Khedive Heritage Recreation Centre! Please take time to watch the video here.

August 14, 2017 - "It's not good enough to say 'Nobody will care in the future'"

Khedive's population has dwindled to only a handful of people in recent years. However, it still has a vibrant community, largely in part due to the efforts of the Khedive Rec Club, a small group of volunteers, many of them who live on farms in the Khedive area. The impressive brick school iat Khedive is a well-known architectural landmark in south central Saskatchewan. I'd been meaning to get out to Khedive for quite some time to chat with the quilting group that gathers every Monday afternoon in the school. When I finally made it, I discovered that the women were not only keeping the quilting tradition alive in the area, but that they were also helping to keep the building in good shape through the profits earned from their quilting.

I interviewed Gail Howse about the small but determined group who saved the school from the fate of so many heritage buildings in this province: decay and/or demolition. In the interview, Gail speaks of the decay of rural towns and villages, and the buildings that disappear as a result. This is a familiar story, and an all-too-common lament in the prairies as the depopulation of the rural countryside puts ever more pressure on its inhabitants. However, this video is not meant to strike a sombre note, but rather to act as an inspiration and perhaps even challenge other communities to take ownership of their heritage. As Gail said, if ten people in a tiny hamlet can save a building like this, why shouldn’t other places be able to do the same? Our built heritage is in our hands to maintain, protect, and preserve.

Recent cuts to the Heritage Foundation of Saskatchewan, which administered grants for designated heritage properties in the province, will force communities to rely on their own fundraising skills to maintain their properties. The Khedive Rec Club has devised creative fundraising events to aid in the ongoing restoration of the school, but they are always open to new ideas. Communities need to be innovative if they want to preserve built heritage. It's community champions like Gail and the other members of the Khedive Rec Club who do this important work in our province, and they deserve much kudos!

Extra: During the filming of this video, we had some wonderful conversations about quilting and other textile arts, local customs, and the importance of communities of women practising traditions. Please also enjoy this rough, unedited video of some of this conversation with the Khedive Heritage Quilters: Gail, Alvina, Freda, Marnie, and Bonnie.