A lifetime of love
Sikiyeas celebrate 75 years of marriage

Tracy Kovalench
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jul 10/98) - Champagne, flowers and chocolate cake are usually not what Micheal and Rose Sikiyea have in mind when they walk through the doors of the Gold Range.

But the couple wasn't exactly surprised by the festive decor, either.

Friends, family and a handful of Gold Range patrons filled the bar Tuesday evening to join the Sikiyeas in celebration of their 75th wedding anniversary.

"No divorce yet," laughs 93-year-old Rose Sikiyea, who remembers the day the two tied the knot in Fort Resolution in 1923.

After living in Ndilo for over half a century, Rose Sikiyea moved into her own apartment at the Mary Murphy home 12 years ago.

Hard of hearing and blind in one eye, 97-year-old Micheal Sikiyea moved into the Avens Seniors Centre only three years ago.

The couple is reunited every Friday over a hot meal provided by Lunch with a Bunch at the Avens Seniors Centre.

Born early in the 1900s, the Sikiyeas witnessed the city's birth and have watched it grow over the years.

"When I was young, I never thought Yellowknife was going to be a big town," says Michael.

A former Yellowknives Dene chief who is also known for bringing aboriginal hunting and fishing rights to Canada's top courts in the 1960s, Mr Sikiyea is just as popular around town as he is in the Strange Range.

The couple sit at their favorite table, which is marked with Rose's name on the flip-side. They greet guests in Dogrib, Chipewyan and English, and sipped free beer for the duration of the party.

Although Michael bid his guests farewell early in the evening, Rose stayed until closing.

"It's my second home," says Rose, who frequents the bar almost every day to visit with friends.

The Sikiyeas have four children -- Albert and Eddie Sikiyea from Yellowknife, Helen Sikiyea who lives in Toronto and Timmy Sikiyea, who lives in Germany.