Powwow honours the winter months
Over 150 people turned up for the final day of the Sioux Mountain powwow, a great turnout for the powwow which is in its second year.
Over 150 people attended the last day of the annual winter Sioux Mountain Powwow in Sioux Lookout, which commenced on Feb. 22 and ran for three days.
Organizers Ralph Johnson and Jenny Burns Wesley said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who attended.
“This is our second annual winter powwow and the amount of support we have had from numerous organizations and private individuals in Sioux Lookout to help us cover the costs of putting this on has been fantastic,” Burns Wesley said. “Powwows are to celebrate everything that is good in our lives and to be grateful for the things we have. It’s also a great opportunity to see family and friends we may not have seen in a long time.”
When asked about what the powwow represented, Johnson replied, “we want to make sure we honour the customs of our people, not just storytelling but also some of the ceremonies.”
“Powwow is very crucial part to giving thanks for the winter months as we go into another season, it’s a gathering and time for sharing with all clans,” he said.
Both organizers agreed that the response from people this year was very positive.
“Last year, we had a lot of adults who were involved in the planning,” Johnson said.
“This year we had a lot of students that took it upon themselves to be involved in planning the event and also in the work that needed to be done, like getting the supplies, getting the wood and other activities associated with putting this together.”
Traditional drummers are an essential part of what makes a powwow what it is.
Alan Walski, one of the traditional drummers at the powwow, explained that dancers offer tobacco to the drummers as a way of expressing thanks to the Creator.
“When you see dancers come to the drums, they put tobacco into the tobacco pouches we carry with the drums, they are saying prayers and when we sing the songs,” Walski explained. “Those prayers are carried to the Creator and once the tobacco pouch is full at the drum, we then have the Sacred Fire which is lit outside the powwow perimeter and we put tobacco down into the fire to send the prayers of the dancers to the spirits as well.”
Walski added that it was wonderful to see the number of youth involved in the powwow this year.
“What we need to pass on is our traditional teaching because when we are gone, we will need people to carry on our traditions and for youth to be able to do this we need to pass our teachings so that they can understand our ways,” Walski said.
“So there are teachings that go along with what we do when we are at the powwow.”
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