BY CLAIRE CUDAHY
After many years without local participation, youth from Pikangikum will be dancing in the community’s powwow this spring.
“Every year at the powwow they would just get powwow dancers to come in from Sioux Lookout or Red Lake or wherever they came from, and then the community would just come and watch,” explained Crystal Flamand, the driving force behind the youth-focused powwow. “There weren’t any Pikangikum powwow dances.”
Flamand said the idea to get Pikangikum dancers involved came from her job as a youth intervention worker with NAN Legal Services.
“A lot of the youth they go to treatment centres and they get exposed to the powwow while they’re out there, so when they come back to the community they would ask, how come we don’t do that here?” said Flamand. “So it gave me the idea to go back to school and write about it.”
Flamand is a Masters of Indigenous Governance student and will write about her experience prepping the Pikangikum youth for the powwow in her thesis practicum.
In partnership with Project Journey and Pikangikum First Nation, Flamand has been working with around 10 youth to get them ready for the powwow on April 2 by hosting workshops, such as jingle dress making and ribbon skirt teachings.
Flamand said that the main idea behind the powwow preparation is to empower the youth of Pikangikum through culture. All of the youth participating in the powwow are first time dancers.
“It’s going to be something big. We’re doing a coming out ceremony to welcome new dancers into the powwow circle,” explained Flamand. “We’ll also have what’s called a spectators dance for everybody who wants to come in and try to dance that style.”
An award-winning dance troupe from White Fish Bay, ON will also be there to take part in the powwow.
The Grand Entries for the powwow will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. A community feast will begin at 5 p.m. For more information, contact Flamand at 807-728-2339.