This Canada Day, I celebrated by going to an outdoor Powwow at Prince Island Park in Calgary that was put on by the City of Calgary and the Iniikokaan Aboriginal Centre at Bow Valley College. A Powwow is a social gathering which honours the First Nations culture through singing, drumming, and dancing. I had no idea of the incredible seven Powwow insights that would come in for me.
Before the actual powwow started, they had a Metis lady by the name of Bev Lambert who energetically showed children how to do the Red River jig. She shared that her inspiration to keep on dancing was the 79 year old gentleman that joined her in a jig and even did an Elvis impersonation!
Insight #1 : No matter how old you are, keep on dancing.
Next a young Inuit lady named Jenna Broomfield shared her passion for her culture. She performed some throat singing which was absolutely incredible to hear. She also stated that the only thing that stops us from talking to others is our fear.
Insight #2: Fear is what keeps us from connecting. It is up to each one of us to embrace, respect and preserve our culture as well as others.
The Powwow event opened with the Grand Entry Dance which brought in all the dancers as well as princesses, dignitaries, sponsors and volunteers. The
elaborate regalia worn by the dancers were a feast for the eyes to behold. This was followed by an honour song done by a drum group and then an elder who blessed the powwow. He first stated how he had woken up at 3 in the morning to the sound of thunder and a downpour of rain. He shared that he did a special smudge ceremony and prayer before the event to ask the creator to bless it. He had also said that many other elders had smudged and asked for blessings as well. Then he said that from the beautiful weather we were experiencing, he felt that the creator was very happy and smiling down on us all.
Insight #3: Whatever your religious or spiritual belief, your thoughts and actions are so incredibly powerful.
Many beautiful dances followed featuring male and female groups as well as small children. All the dances were mesmerizing. One specific dance was called the couple dance. The Emcee stated that this dance was an opportunity for anyone to get up and ask someone that they had been eyeing from afar. At that moment, a young girl (about 10 years old) went and asked a young boy for a dance. The look on his face was priceless and all that witnessed this were touched by the innocence.
Insight #4: Children show us so innocently the importance of following our heart.
The Emcee and dignitaries stressed the importance of each of us doing our part to build a strong community. There was also plenty of humour injected throughout the entire powwow.
Insight #5: Laughter unites us into a strong community no matter what race, colour or religion we are.
There were a variety of different drummers and singers provided for the dancers. What I loved to see was how the drummers and singers
were all ages. There was no hierarchy. In fact, one young boy was even allowed to drum and lead part of the singing. People clapped when they saw this occur.
Insight #6: As adults, it is our duty to instill confidence in our youth from a young age and nurture them.
The event ended with a Giveaway Dance. This dance provides gifts to elders and visitors. I have just recently moved my 79 yr old mother from Manitoba to Cochrane, AB. This was the first Powwow she had ever been to. She received one of the beautiful blankets that they handed out.
Insight #7: The respect that the First Nations has for elders humbles me to the core.
I will definitely be attending next year’s Powwow. Thank you to the City of Calgary and the Iniikokaan Aboriginal Centre at Bow Valley College for creating such an unforgettable Canada Day.
In humble gratitude,