Organizers were thanking Creator as the weather held out for what they describe as a picture perfect day for the first Interschool Powwow.
School students from across the region as well as Lloydminster Public and Catholic school divisions numbering some 600, with teachers and supporters filled the east side of Lakeland College for four hours of drumming, singing and dancing.
The day opened with a Grand Entry that included representation from all the dignitaries present and wrapped with the traditional Dancing Out led by the Eagle Spear.
Rikki Ducharme, manager of Indigenous student support services at Lakeland College says they are thrilled with the turnout and the level of cultural interaction.
“First Nations communities brought their students to showcase their culture and pride. As well, to show all of our community what they do and what a Powwow truly is.”
The conversations during the day reflected the pride of preserving culture in the face of institutions like Residential Schools which sought to silence Indigenous drumming, according to one performer who held his drum close to his person, while he shared what his culture means to him.
Ducharme who also co-chairs the education circle for the event organizer, Heart of Treaty Six or HOT6 says the day was a traditional Powwow to allow students to experience First Nations culture, but not as a competition. She shares going forward HOT6 will continue the role of education to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action.
“We do hope that this becomes an annual thing where we can showcase our Indigenous youth in our community showing off what Truth and Reconciliation truly means.”
Schools present from around the region included students from Marshall, Lashburn and Irma. Drummers, dancers and singers came from Kehewin School, North Battleford Gopher Hill drummers, Thunderchild Piyesiw Awasis School and Onion Lake Eagleview and Sakaskoc Schools, and as well both Lloydminster school divisions.
The videography students from Irma Public School will be producing a video and MyLloydminsterNow will have an update when it is available.