By Bobinec, Greg on February 24, 2020.
Hundreds from First Nations communities across North America took to the Enmax Centre on the weekend for the 21st annual International Peace Pow-Wow and Festival.
On Saturday and Sunday the arena was filled with over 300 dancers, drummers and pageant queens as entrants from all over competed by showing their skills, craftsmanship and sense of community and culture.
“This weekend we have been having the 2020 International Peace Pow Wow. This is our 21st year, we try to showcase the positive aspects of native culture and bring awareness to southern Alberta,” says Kelly A Good Nugget Bull Bear, Pow-Wow Co-ordinator.
“As the name says, International Peace, we have tribes from all over, dancers from all over the United States and Canada in competition and then it is a celebration for everyone to come and enjoy themselves.”
Dancers throughout the two days competed in different styles of traditional dancing such as men’s buckskin, men’s traditional dancing, fancy dancing, tiny tots, and old-style chicken dance. Throughout the weekend, drumming groups and individuals were also put to the test to see how their projection, rhythmic and clarity holds up to others.
A large part of the International Peace Pow-Wow is the pageant for the crowning of Miss Blackfoot Canada Senior and Junior. The purpose of the pageant is to find a young female representative who has a good understanding of the culture as well as their own dreams and goals to represent the community at events locally and internationally.
“This year for the Pageant, we have a large number of 13 competitors who are based on their essays, speeches, interviews and dancing,” says Jayne Scout, Pageant Co-ordinator.
“What we are looking for is role models, young ladies that are successful and do well in life. A lot of them are very into their dancing and Pow-Wow, but many of them are just incredible girls who have their own dreams and goals.”
Last year’s winner of Miss Blackfoot Canada, Selena Medicine Shield was chosen for her intelligence, confidence and the way she represented her community through various events, as well as her stance and projection about missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“Their responsibility is to represent our Blackfoot culture to the world, they show up at special events, they get invited to represent us, and they really become a part of the community,” says Scout.
“Our Miss Blackfoot Canada winner, Selena Medicine Shield, represented us very well. She was at the Grey Cup Game, she was at the first hockey game to be broadcasted in Blackfoot, she was part of the Indian Relay Racing circuit, but most importantly she was able to tell her story of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the story of her grandmother.”
Over the weekend, hundreds from Indigenous communities across North America joined together to compete and celebrate their culture and come together as one for the 21st annual International Peace Pow-Wow.
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