The White Bear First Nations struggled with a tragedy days before their annual powwow when one of their members went missing and was found deceased days before the event.
After Chief Jonathan Pasap spoke with the elders, it was decided to move forward with the event.
They felt this gathering would bring healing to the family of Caitlin Maxie who had passed suddenly at the age of 29, leaving behind her partner and three young children.
The opening ceremony on Aug. 22 held a special gathering. The dancers prayed and hoped the power of prayer would help the family and community deal with the shocking news.
Wooden Face was the honourary drummers and sang as everyone entered the circle at 7 p.m. with each group of dancers entering behind the flag carriers.
Heavy fog hung over the powwow grounds the first evening, but they were grateful the rain held off.
The following day at 1 p.m., the grand entrance began, with a drone flying overhead to take in all the festivities.
There is no cost to attend the event, and everyone is encouraged to come and join in and learn about the cultures of the Indigenous people.
These events are always drug and alcohol free. There were many places to purchase food and the famous bannock was available. Vendors had tents set up around the circle.
Announcer Howie Thompson provided quick wit and kept the crowd engaged.
“It is a good day to have a powwow,” he said.
Chief Connie Bigeagle from Ocean Man First Nation said the Creator knows what He is doing and everyone is family. She also invited everybody to the powwow they would hold on Sept. 8-10.
They spoke about the residential school survivors and that the children now are coming out from under the shadow of the residential schools.
Thompson encouraged everyone to get involved and dance, even if they did not have regalia, as it was a time to be a community together.
Drum beats echoed through the building and the first 10 drum groups to register, with a minimum of five singers per drum group, would receive day pay.
Special categories were for seniors, and one dancer was in her 80s.
Tiny tots came out in their regalia, dancing to the beat of the drums, not missing a step.
The jingles on the regalia shone brightly in the sun, giving them a special place in the circle as they danced.
The 2023 graduates were honoured along with the students that attended the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax. Saskatchewan won the most medals of any province with 176.
The chicken dance initiation created some fun with more events added later in the day.
As the White Bear powwow came to an end, they were thankful the rain held off during the event.
It was now time for the White Bear First Nations people to move forward and heal.