July 19th, 2024

International Peace Pow-wow brings communities together

By Lethbridge Herald on February 26, 2024.

Dancers take part in the Grand Entry during the International Peace Pow-Wow on Saturday at the Enmax Centre. Herald photo by Justin Seward


Many pow-wow dancers with different styles of regalia convened at the Enmax Centre over the weekend for the annual International Peace Pow-wow and Festival.

Attendees experienced the exhilaration of Indigenous performing arts, the always- impressive Grand Entry and different Indigenous products that were available through the market place of 57 vendors.

Local dancer Sunshine Spearchief was back at her hometown pow-wow a year after coming in third in the Miss Blackfoot Canada competition.

“It’s very welcoming,” said Spearchief.

“You learn a lot more; you see a lot more and you experience a lot more. It’s very healing and it’s very outgoing. You learn new family members when you’re out here.”

Spearchief thinks pow-wows teach kids more in their culture in terms of getting them dancing  at a young age, learning about their culture more and being proud of where they come from.

“It’s nerve wracking but when you do it, I feel confident,” said Spearchief.

“I dance for a lot of people, I dance for the healing, I dance for loved ones who’s passed on and I dance for the  missing  and murdered Indigenous men and women.”

She feels she’s a role model for a lot of people including her nieces and nephews.

Deirdre Red Calf was participating in her first pow-wow and travelled from Ochiese First Nation near Rocky Mountain House.

“Just dancing for my people,” she said.

Red Calf was nervous and excited at the same time.

“I’m hoping for freedom, like (an) adrenaline feeling,” said Red Calf.

Red Calf said she’s been dreaming of jingle dancing for a real long time.

“A pow-wow means all communities getting together as like peace,” said Red Calf-.

Kimberly Desjarlais was in from Edmonton with her niece and young dancer Kalaya Laglace.

“The music, the people, watching everybody dance is (a) really powerful feeling,” said Desjarlais.

Desjarlais said “we’re slowly getting to know the pow-Wow trail and where they all are.

“And corresponding and getting to meet up with friends that also attend pow-wows,” said Desjarlais.

There were  dance competitions in 15 adult categories, seven teen categories and seven junior categories will money being won in first, second and third place.

Drummers could enter a competition that had a $5,000 first place prize, a $3,000 second place prize and a $2,000 third place prize and seven consolation prizes.

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