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.