Join an online event dedicated to the grouse on Saturday, April 24. 2021 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Third Inaugural Grouse Symposium will be virtual due to COVID-19.
The website states that guests will enjoy, “Indigenous perspectives, wildlife photography, citizen science, valuable discussion, personal experiences and more. All centered on sharp-tail and ruffed grouse in the Battle River area.”
“Special features include grouse photography, how to identify grouse, their habits, how and where to view the birds, population trends, grouse survival challenges including native ecosystem restoration, and how you can help to bring grouse back.”
The grouse or Prairie Chicken has a very significant meaning to Indigenous culture.
“The prairie grouse or prairie chicken has that ability to attract a mate and the male shakes its feathers and ruffles, runs/ spins about and makes sounds to attract the female in the springtime,” said Kevin Buffalo, former Indigenous leader and teacher, giving a local Indigenous perspective.
“The chicken dance emulates and imitates that action.”
“As a ceremony, the chicken dance was used in the spring time as a time for rebirth, bringing new life, so to speak. All of creation begins the birth process, new life,” said Buffalo.
“The chicken dance is one of the oldest traditional dances around our area. It’s a healing dance and provides a good sense of morale to spectators as well.”
Mariah Rabbit is a respected local elder in Maskwacis and Montana First Nation’s oldest living resident. She speaks only an older dialect of Cree.
She says that “prairie chicken” translates into “pihew nimitok” in the Plains Cree language.
To ensure everyone who is interested can attend, there will be no registration fee. However, donations are gratefully accepted.
For more information, contact the The Grouse Project team: Sheldon Frissell, Wainwright Wildlife Society, at 780/806-3668 or Jane Ross, ALL Alberta, at 780-781-2487.