Dancers are happy to be back at the Heart of the Youth Community powwow

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Traditional dancer Leander Morin dances during the Friday Youth Community Heartland Pow Wow at Kinsmen Park.

The return of the Heart of the Youth Community powwow drew dancers and drummers from across the province.

The comeback also brought out a variety of feelings ranging from nervousness to competitive fire. For traditional dancers like Leander Morin of Big River First Nation, powwows are special and he was happy to be back.

“It’s a celebratory healing ceremony,” Morin said. “At another of our ceremonies, the sweat lodge, you go there to heal and go on your own personal journey, find out who you are and what you need to be healed with. But the powwow is something you do afterwards, it’s something you’re going to have fun with, with your people, with your family.

In 2021, Heart of the Youth went virtual in an attempt to keep the tradition alive while following COVID-19 protocols, but the 2020 event was canceled altogether. Morin danced at the 2019 event, but after all that time, he was glad to be back.

“After so long, we need it,” he explained. “We need celebrations. We need activities to reunite like this after so long of being stuck in our homes and not being with each other. We need it to rebuild our communities. »

Morin said the powwow was smaller than some he attends during the summer, but the Heart of Youth had its own special appeal.

“It’s very big. Honestly, I didn’t expect so many people to show up, so many people to dance and have fun,” he said. “I’m very happy that it happens because there are a lot of people.”

Heart of the Youth wasn’t just a chance to dance, it’s also a chance to see old friends and meet new people. On Friday, Morin saw a dancer his mother taught in elementary school who also grew up attending powwows. He said it was great to see dancers like that in person again.

“I’ve seen him dance and we’ve danced together at many powwows,” Morin said. “We always say hello to each other and I have a lot of respect for him as a dancer.”

However, seeing the other dancer also brings out Morin’s competitive spirit. Part of her mind is happy dancing together, but the other part is competitive.

“When I see him, I already know it’s going to be a big powwow because while I’m dancing, there’s this little part that says I’m dancing against him. It makes me happy as well as dancing with him.

“I know when he’s older he’ll be a well-known dancer.”

Jingle dance Isabella Peekeekoot of the Ahtahkakoop First Nation was happy to be back, but worried about the long vacation.

“It’s quite different and just challenging because I haven’t danced in a while,” she said.
“That’s pretty cool. It’s a great day for dancing.

Still, just being back at an in-person powwow was enough for Peekeekoot.

“It’s really nice to be dancing again,” she said. “I love the rhythm of the drums. Just accompany him while you dance. That’s what I do.”


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