For the first time since 2019, the Heart of The Youth Community Powwow returned to an in-person event at Kinsmen Park.
Elder and Organizing Committee member Liz Settee was thrilled to have the event back in person.
“God just to feel the energy,” Settee said. “I’m totally hyped. I’m so full of energy right now and it’s coming from these young people and everyone here, and the beautiful day that’s been given to us.
Nearly 3,000 people attended Friday’s powwow, including students from schools in Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, Northern Lights School Division and Prince Albert Catholic School Division, among others.
“This is how our world should be,” Settee said. “It’s people coming together.”
Settee said each year in person the event has grown, with around 1,800 in the first year and nearly 3,000 in 2019. Settee said they hope to beat that total on Friday, and have a good chance to do so, with visitors from as far away as possible. far as Ahtahkakoop in attendance.
“I can’t even explain it,” Settee said. “I’m not overwhelmed, but just excited and excited because everyone is going to walk away with such wonderful memories.”
Heart of the Youth has several goals, but one of the most important is to help First Nations and Métis youth connect with their culture. Settee said many elders believe in helping young indigenous people understand their history and traditions.
“I know for myself, my mind is like a flame,” she explained. “It was almost over and as soon as I started my culture and my learning, my flame only grew.
“I hope it sparks that flame in some of our young people wanting to know more and being curious and finding out where they’re from and what their culture is, and not being afraid to ask questions because that’s how it is. that we learn.”
The day began with a grand entrance and speeches from representatives of the City of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, Prince Albert Catholic School Division and the many sponsors and partners of the event.
The city’s second Community Pow Wow Day was held on Friday and will continue on the last Friday in May each year. This will be a day dedicated to education about the powwow and Aboriginal culture. Community members will be asked to wear a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt.
This year they removed the gender ids from the dances so that they are simply shaul, traditional, jingle or any other type of dance. Settee explained that it was because everyone is welcome in the circle and has gifts and talents.
“The creator doesn’t do junk,” she said. “We are all important. We are all his children or his children or their children. Both spirits bring balance and we need to start respecting it instead of avoiding it. They’ve been rejected for so long that we thought it was time to do something to include them,” she said.
The initiative was recommended to the committee by member Jennifer Lenny, who is two-spirited. Settee said they adopted him immediately and wondered why they hadn’t adopted him sooner.
“This is where everyone is welcome,” she explained. “We had daycare centers here. We had senior residences here. We had homeless here. We had police here. We’ve had everyone in between here and that’s just the community.
Settee added that it was special to be able to come together again.
“We have been locked up for about two years and we are human. We need social interaction and we need things like that, we need to talk to people and hug them,” she said.
The powwow planning process begins in September or October after the committee has taken its summer break.
“There is a lot of work going into it. Our committee is definitely growing, which is a real blessing. We are always taking on new members of the community as volunteers,” she said.
“It takes a lot of work, a lot of coordination, a good dose of commitment.”
She said they were already considering the next one on May 26, 2023.
“I have to thank the dancers and the drummers because without them we wouldn’t be back. Our young people are our future and if you don’t get a chance to see us this year May 26 Kinsmen Park Diamond Ball,” she said.