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Peaceful Peace Garden

Summer of coronavirus

Submitted Photo Tim Chapman, CEO of the International Peace Garden, left, and Les Thomas are shown in this photo. Thomas is the first Native American elected to the Peace Garden board of directors.

DUNSEITH – Blooming is well under way at the International Peace Garden. The floral displays for which the facility has become so famous have had an excellent growing season due to abundant rainfall and temperatures agreeable for colorful growing.

Visitation to the famed garden that straddles the U.S.-Canada border has continued through the coronavirus pandemic. The opening date was June 5. There are some restrictions in place however.

Canadian travelers who pass through the port and enter the Peace Garden will be asked to self-quarantine for two weeks upon their return to Manitoba. Additionally, because the Canadian border remains closed to all but “essential” traffic, U.S. visitors cannot enter the Canadian side of the garden.

What usually is an open border between the two countries now splits the Peace Garden into distinctive north and south sections. Despite the spectacular floral displays this summer visitation has been down considerably, a part of that decrease attributed to the coronavirus inspired border restrictions that has severely restricted Canadian travel.

Events too at the Peace Garden have been curtailed due to coronavirus precautions. Among the big draws of the Peace Garden, the International Music Camp, has not opened up this season.

Recently Les Thomas of Belcourt was elected to the Peace Garden board of directors, becoming the first Native American to serve on the board since the dedication of the garden in 1932.

“Being the first Native American to be elected to the board is an honor and a privilege to serve with such a distinguished group of people,” said Thomas, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Thomas said he hopes to bring a plan of action to the Peace Garden that will include a display of the flags and dwellings of various Native American tribes in North Dakota. Such an effort, said Thomas, could also include an interpretive message to “anyone who wants to learn about Native American cultures of the five nations of North Dakota.”

“Every tribe has its own history and story to tell,” added Thomas.

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