WHITE BEAR FIRST NATIONS - The White Bear First Nations held its annual powwow, with a total of four sessions and grand entries from Aug. 19-21.
Powwows are social gatherings held by most North American Indigenous communities. It enables people to meet, dance, sing, socialize and honour their cultures.
There was dancing, singing and drumming competitions all weekend. Significant prize money was awarded to attract out-of-town participants. Dancers donned costumes and had beadwork. Prizes for all categories were awarded Aug. 21.
The White Bear First Nations powwow grounds are located on the south side of the reservation, just east of Highway 9. The powwow was held in a large amphitheater with mowed native grass in its centre where the dancing, singing and drumming took place. While powwows are considered sacred, the public was welcome and there were good crowds in attendance. Like always, there was free admission. Security guards were on duty ensuring the site was alcohol and drug free.
All weekend long, spectators were treated to dancing and drums. Debbie Jack attended the powwow on Aug. 19.
“All my life growing up in Carlyle, it has been exciting to go to the powwow. I could listen to the drums all day long. I also love the different costumes as there is a lot of work put into them with many different colours and such,” she said.
“This is the first year my granddaughter was wanting to dance and so as a grandma, I was even more thrilled. I recommend that more people come out and just see for themselves how awesome it is,” said Jack.
Tanya White Bear is a councillor and was a dignitary during the grand entries.
“The White Bear powwow celebration was so refreshing; the old-style vibes were the best,” said her husband Aaron Desjarlais. “A couple of things stood out for me and took me back in time. Grass dancers blessed the ground before the grand entry. Rations were provided to every camp and there was an old-style singing contest. The morning prayers, traditional teachings and stories from the past by the powwow announcers were soothing to the soul.
“Tanya and I were honoured to watch our son Tyman perform the chicken dance style. As well, it was our granddaughter Isabella’s first intertribal powwow. We also enjoyed dancing in the konamni sweetheart’s dance to celebrate our anniversary. Thank you, White Bear powwow committee, chief, council and community, you all did an amazing job this year.”