Fiddles, fish, and fine weather for Elders’ cookout

Wesley Hardisty plays for Elders at long-term care on July 30, 2020
Wesley Hardisty plays for Elders at a Fort Simpson long-term care facility on July 30, 2020. Photo: Submitted

The sun was shining, the outside temperatures were perfect and the bugs finally let up for the Elders’ cookout at the Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ Fırst Natıon (LKFN) on July 30.

The outdoor event is part of the First Nation’s efforts to include older adults – a program run in collaboration with the NWT Seniors’ Society, helping Elders out of their homes and into the community.

Roslyn Firth, LKFN’s wellness coordinator, said this year’s events are a little different because of Covid-19 and resulting rules in place for gatherings.

“With Covid we are having to [invite] just a few people at a time,” she said. “So we closed our gates and had signs up saying invited Elders only, and one of our students sat by the entranceway and checked people off.



“It was very different from other gatherings that we’ve had which were – before Covid – much more casual.”

Picnic tables at the LKFN office provided space to accommodate social distancing and allow for the 30 Elders in attendance.

“There’s enough room to set up barbecues,” said Firth. “It’s quite a large space where we could control the number of people in the space better than being down at the arbor.”

There are already plans for another cookout in August to make sure close to 100 older adults and those in long-term care in the community can take part. 



“We’ll invite another 40 people, because we have quite a few people in the community who are on our list who are over 60,” said Firth. “There’s 14 people in long-term care. So we need to have at least one more event like this. An outdoor event in the summer when the weather’s still nice.”

Firth added there’s already plenty of fish thanks to a fisherman in Kakisa.

“We got a whole bunch of really great whitefish from a man who lives in Kakisa,” she said. “I’m not sure how he’s such a good fisherman, but he’s amazing. We have enough fish for this cookout and also for our next one, just beautifully filleted whitefish.”

Keeping things simple

The meal was simple, with plenty of fish, salad, potatoes, bannock, and berries and whipped cream to top it off.

“We kept it simple because Elders don’t like a lot of fancy food that has to be chewed up too much,” said Firth. “And the bannock was made by the premier bannock maker in town, Aggie McPherson.”

There were door prizes, while fiddler Wesley Hardisty put on a show for those in attendance – and later in the afternoon played for seniors in long-term care.

“It was sunny and warm, but not so hot that it was awful,” said Firth. “And the bugs are on the wane, so everyone really enjoyed that.”