Whitebear Education Complex held its third annual inter-school Pow Wow on May 19 with more than 200 people in attendance. People from throughout the area took in a day filled with dancing, drumming, singing, and honouring the aboriginal culture.
The Pow Wow began at 10 a.m. with the Grand Entry, followed by competitions spread throughout the remainder of the day. Roy "Crazy Horse" Bison acted as the Master of Ceremonies with Mason "Bear" McArthur as the Arena Director.
The Grand Entry and prayer started off the day. The Eagle Staff, carried by Veteran George Sparvier, was followed by a number of flags, dancers and honorary guests. Four flags were carried in with Justin St. John carrying the Saskatchewan flag, Dakota Kakakaway carrying the Whitebear School Flag, Naokta Akachuk carrying the Whitebear community flag, and the Canadian Flag being carried by Director of Education, Art Keating.
A number of individuals partook in the Grand Entry including Elder Marion Littlechief, Whitebear Princess Rosie Shepherd, Bearclaw Princess Tory Strongeagle, Chief and Council representative Diette Kinistino, Whitebear Education Board representative Darlene Standingready and Pow Wow committee members Lisa McArthur, Sarah McArthur, Linda Standing and Noella Eagle.
Following the Grand Entry was an immaculate display of dancing, drumming and singing. A number of competitions existed for participants. For the boys, the Fancy dance is known for its dramatic movement and vivid regalia. The result is a definite crowd pleaser. The Traditional dance features traditional regalia with traditional based movements. The Grass dance, a dance that features regalia with long, flowing fringe, is a dance where movements are more elaborate than traditional dances, but less flashy than the fancy dance.
Much of the same exists for the female competitors. Here, the Traditional dance features traditional clothing made of cloth or leather. The participants perform precise and highly controlled movements. The Jingle Dress dance sees participants dressed with regalia made from hundreds of small tin cones that make noise as the dancer moves throughout the dance. The dance itself is based on light footwork and is danced close to the ground. The Fancy Shawl was also performed at the competition, with dancers wearing regalia made of bright colors and long, usually fringed and decorated shawl. The dancers perform rapid spins and elaborate dance moves.
Competitors took over the gymnasium with the junior dance category forming the substance of the morning. Youth aged seven to 12 years of age participated in a number of dances with winners receiving $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.
Winners of the junior category included: Ragan Lavallee from Cowessess School for the Junior Girls Fancy competition; Kayla Agecoutay of Cowessess School for the Junior Girls Jingle; and Joshua Delorme of Cowessess School for the Junior Boys Grass competition.
The teen categories received $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third. In these competitions, Ashlyn McArthur from Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation placed first in the Teen Girls Fancy competition with Rain Big Eagle from Ocean Man First Nation taking first in the Teen Girls Jingle. The Teen Girls Traditional competition was won by Teri Daniels from Cowessess School. For the male dancers, Ryan Ochapowace from Ochapowace School placed first in the Teen Boys Fancy, with De Jay Still from Ochapowace First Nation placing first in the Teen Boys Grass. Royce Redstar from Pheasant Rump Nakota Nation placed first in the Teen Boys Traditional.
A number of Whitebear First Nation dancers also participated in the Pow Wow. While they participated in the dancing, it is common practice that the First Nations dancers do not participate in the competition dances, as this gives the visiting dancers the opportunity to win.
Drumming was heard throughout the day with Eagle Rock from Kawacatoose First Nation starting during the Grand Entry. The day also included the drumming of Dancing Young Buffalo from Piapot First Nation, Kakisiwew Juniors from Ochapowace First Nation, Kahkewistahaw School from Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Nakoda Oyade School from Carry the Kettle First Nation and Kawacatoose Boyz from Kawacatoose First Nation.
Schools from throughout the area were invited to the Pow Wow. This included Cowesses Community Education Centre, Kahkewistahaw First Nation School, Kakisiwew School, Nadoda Oyade Education, Centre, Ocean Man Elementary School, Chief Gabriel Cote, Peepeekisis Pesakastew School, Chief Paskwa Ed Centre, Muskowekwan School, Piapot School, Arcola School, Gordon F. Kells, Carlyle Elementary and Stoughton Central School.
The day was a real success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. The Whitebear Education Complex Inter-School Pow Wow committee thanked "Whitebear Lands and Resources, Whitebear Health-Brighter Future, Whitebear Post Secondary, Whitebear Education Complex and Bear Necessities. This is a time when our children get to dance, sing, experience and share a part of the First Nation social dances. Their contributions made this year's pow-wow a huge success." They also sent out a big thank you to the WBEC maintenance technicians and all of those involved with the 2011 Pow Wow.