Some were there to watch the performers, some to observe or participate in a cultural event, some to socialize with friends and neighbours and some to compete for prize money. But most importantly, all were there to appreciate and honor the aboriginal culture. Whatever the reason, a celebration, a cultural event, a competition, all should have gone home content they had a fulfilling eperience.
It was the Samson Cree Pow Wow, held August 9th – 14th, 2012 at the Maskwacis Bear Park in Hobbema. The weekend was filled with a pageantry of colorful costumes, RCMP serge formal uniforms, formal ceremonies and prayers, singing, dancing and competitions. Thirty-one tee pees surrounded the grandstand including one hosted by the RCMP. Proudly exhibiting a display of aboriginal culture, costume and dance were 213 adults, 91 teens and 110 juniors.
The sound of exotic drumming and singing resonated from the large oval grandstand onto the grounds. In the centre of the oval, the performers competed for some serious prize money while spectators had the option of observing or joining the dance performance. The master of ceremonies ensured the program proceeded methodically by continually keeping the singers, dancers, and spectators informed as to what is happening. Judges armed with clipboards, moved from drum group to drum group throughout the arena to determine the prize money winners.
Pride in their culture was very evident as drummers and dancers exhibited a great deal of energy and determination while displaying their skills. The Drum Competition topped the prize money at $10,000 for 1st, $8,000 for 2nd and $6,000 for 3rd, $4,000 for 4th and finally a respectable $2,000 for 5th place. The various categories of dancers ranged from $1200 for 1st to $400 for 5th for Men’s and Ladies, $500 – $100 for teens, $300 – $50 for juniors and any ‘tiny tot’ under the age of 6 years was paid daily for participating in full aboriginal dress.
Music for pow-wow dance competition and other activities is provided by a "Drum," a group of performers who play a large, specially designed drum and sing traditional songs. The number of members of a drum group may vary, but is usually at least four people, and can be far more. Some members of the drum group may wear traditional regalia and dance as well as drum, other times drummers simply wear street clothing. Drums usually rotate the duty of providing songs for the dancers, each taking a turn at the direction of the pow-wow management. Source – Wikipedia
The event was well run, enjoyable for both spectators and competitors and an overall success. Congratulations to our Aboriginal neighbors for sharing a magnificent display of aboriginal history, heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding performances.