If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, you should think about attending St. Albert’s annual Poundmaker Pow Wow. Running Saturday through Sunday, the Pow Wow is a celebration of all things indigenous, including food, dance, music and more. The First Nations peoples of St. Albert area have a rich cultural heritage, and the Poundmaker Pow Wow offers the perfect opportunity to learn a little bit more about it, regardless of whether or not you identify as First Nations yourself.
There will be many events and activities over the weekend, but the two main attractions are the drumming sessions and, of course, the powwow dance itself. “The Poundmaker Pow Wow is a traditional Pow Wow,” explains the event’s organizer, Lacey Kaskamin. “It’s a celebration rather than a competition. All of the performers will be in their traditional dress, and they’ll be performing the dances that they’ve been practicing since a very young age. The same goes for the drummers.”
While St. Albert is a Metis settlement built on Plains Cree territory, the Poundmaker Pow Wow does not limit itself to the celebration of region-specific cultures. The Pow Wow regularly receives visitors from all across North America, some who come to dance and some just to watch. “We use a lot of Plains Cree traditions,” says Lacey. “But only to act as a base for all indigenous people to build upon. We want everyone to be able to participate in their own capacity. There is a lot of diversity among indigenous peoples, but many of our traditions share a similar root.”
As Poundmaker’s Lodge is known for being one of the premier treatment centres in Canada, it should come as no surprise that the Pow Wow aims to bring about spiritual healing in its participants. The event is run and organized not only by the Lodge’s staff but also by their clients. The Pow Wow acts as a means for many to look beyond their addictions and find strength in their cultural roots as well as their community.
Rain or shine, the Poundmaker Pow Wow promises to be a weekend of fun, celebration and healing. The event opens at 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon at Poundmaker’s Lodge and is free to all who attend.
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