Thousands turned out for a range of cultural activities that were packed into the recent Samson Cree Nation Powwow celebration.
The annual event was held over the weekend of Aug. 11 to 13.
“We have this every year, and we have other things that are held along with it like the rodeo in Ponoka at the Calnash Ag Event Centre, slo-pitch in Wetaskiwin, golfing at Montgomery Glen Golf and Country Club, hand games, and a five kilometre run,” said Delorna Makinaw, communications coordinator for the Samson Cree Nation.
“These all run in conjunction with each other.”
As to the powwow itself, Makinaw said things kicked off on Friday and ran right through until Sunday. It was a non-stop celebration of singing, dancing, sharing, the building of community spirit, and a warm welcoming of visitors.
“They said we had about 28,000 people coming in and out,” she added. “It was huge!”
Makinaw pointed out that planning for the event begins about a year before each celebration, too.
And it has a rather lengthy history in the community as well.
“It’s been going for at least 20 years.”
Meanwhile, several dignitaries dropped by this year’s celebrations, she said.
“We had the Lieutenant-Governor (Salma Lakhani) visit us on Saturday — she was with us for the afternoon to watch the celebrations.”
More than 900 dancers also took part in a range of categories, plus 15 drumming groups were on hand as well.
“We had visitors from everywhere,” she said.
“It’s kind of like going to a folk fest — except that we are all dancing and singing,” she said. “It’s really good for us — we like to sing and dance, it’s our culture. We invite people to come and visit with us, and to share our positive outlook on life. They also bring us blessings when they come and visit,” she explained.
“That’s a nice part of it, too. The positive energy they bring to our nation is always welcome.
“It’s a really good feeling for us — having people come to this, treating them well, and being good hosts. We really take pride in our hospitality for our visitors. It’s part of what we do.
“We also have family members that come out from different nations and they enjoy themselves, too.”