The Samson Cree Nation Powwow Celebration, which ran Aug. 12th to the 14th at Bear Park in Maskwacis, had thousands of people come out from all over.
Hosted by the Samson Cree Nation Chief and Council and the SCN Pow-wow Committee, the celebration saw over 500 dancers perform throughout the weekend.
“We had winners from Toronto and Los Angeles. It was amazing. One of the lead actors in the movie Prey was one of our dancers. His mom is actually a Samson band member,” said celebration chairperson and council member Louise Omeasoo.
She added that she’s never seen so many flags waved in the grand entry.
“It was the event of the year for Samson Cree Nation for sure.”
The theme of the event was pemiyomacihohk, which means ‘come get healing.’
“The SCN Pow-wow is a celebration, and we believe this is a time where our ancestors and our close loved ones who have passed away can come to celebrate with us,” said Samson Cree Nation Council Member Katherine Swampy.
“I’ve always been told by much older relatives that when they pass, this is where they will come and wait for me, to check up on me and bring me blessings. Dancing is a physical prayer, and when you dance it’s about healing,” she added.
Swampy is also a Powwow mom and dancer, along with her husband and children.
She said some dancers even have tribute regalia, wearing a dress or piece in loving memory. Some wear regalia that’s also very old, having been passed on through generations.
“It’s also very significant from the changes that happen. It has evolved over the years from new ways of dancing, and growing to be inclusive of all indigenous cultures, not just specific to the Cree,” said Swampy.
Many competed in the drum competition and dance competition. Even the RCMP did a dance, having had their own little competition on the Friday night.
“It was so much fun to watch them,” said Omeasoo.
Coming in first place for the drum contest was Sharpshooter, who took home $12,000 as prize money, while Rocky Boy took home second, taking home $10,000. The competition went up to the top four, while the dance competition mostly saw five winners from each category.
Lillian Gadwa took home first place in the Womens Golden Age, while Vivia Dillon took home second. Charlie Favel SR took home first in the Mens Golden Age, while Sheldon Scalplock SR took home second.
In the Junior Girls Traditional, Naliya Littlechild took home first, while Ruby Sunchild took home second. In the Junior Girls Jingle, Scarlett Scalplock took home first, while Aaralyn Watchmaker took home second. In the Junior Girl Fancy Gracie Gadwa, took home first place, while Elyria Buffalo took home second.
In the Junior Boys Traditional, Kently White Eyes took home first place, while Jolandis Rain took home second. In the Junior Boys Chicken, Clyde Tootootis took home first, while Gabe Deschamps took home second. In the Junior Boys Grass, Jairus Faithful took home first, while Branson Baptiste took home second. In the Junior Boys Fancy, Ari Mitsuing took home first, while Maximus Laliberte took home second.
Besides the dancing and drums, there were also hand games, runs, slow pitch and more.
Omeasoo said they were fortunate to have many organizations helping out to feed people, along with an endless supply of water throughout the weekend.
More results and winners can be found by visiting samsoncree.com and clicking news.