The Powwow: A Spectrum of Culture

It is always fulfilling to stroke off an item on my bucket
list; to my pleasure and honour I was able to witness a powwow for the first
time and put a check beside a longstanding entry on my life index! What better
way to spend a Sunday afternoon among peers than to share a majestic cultural
tradition that arouses excitement and pride of First Nations communities.

Frankly, I was not sure what to expect– I am just a country
girl that hails from a small, dusty side-road that compels every rover to wave at
all fellow drivers! It wasn’t long after I arrived at the Samson Powwow before
the smells, sights and sounds were a delightful assault on the senses.
You may ask how I would characterize such an event…but
frankly there is no way to delineate a powwow. What doesn’t it have to offer?
Thanks to my trusty ‘interpreter’ and colleagues, I was able to fully
appreciate the scope of the event.

Minor but essential details are the giggles and scurrying of
little feet from children that attend with their families. It is, indisputably,
a family affair where bonds of friendship are forged and renewed.

Powwows tickle the taste buds. I suddenly became ravenous
when my hungry alter ego craved something deep fried and sautéed in butter. For
those of you who have attended a powwow, you know of what I speak—bannock
burgers! Needless to say, my calorie count morphed into an infinity symbol by
the end of the day!

Competition is also a major component of the powwow; the quality
and quantity of participants was sensational. From the chimes and grace of the
Women’s Jingle Dress Dance to the prowess and agility of the Men’s Fancy Dance,
the athleticism and regalia was simply striking. I was sweating in my seat by the
mere sight of their stamina and glad that I was able to appreciate their
artistry from afar in the shade!

Wandering around the grounds my purse strings were pulled
until they were nearly shredded when vendors offered an array of handcrafted
merchandise. Anything pretty, shiny, beaded and dangly provoked me to spend,
spend, spend. Fortunately, I did not claim bankruptcy!

Fun is, of course, a main ingredient. The entire powwow
event is a cornucopia of amusement and compelling traditions that would elicit
reverential awe from all its spectators. As for myself, I can’t wait to press
the repeat button and relive this outstanding cultural event. I went home with
the sound of drumming still reverberating in my chest. To anyone who has an interest
in our national history or looking to enjoy a day out, attend a powwow at least
once, you will not regret or forget the experience!

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