BY CHARLENE WIRTZ
Fishing Lake First Nation held their annual Culture Days and Traditional Mini Powwow over the ﬁrst week in September, with the powwow on Sept. 7. A pipe ceremony was held in the morning, led by FLFN elders, and the importance of tobacco as a sacred gift was emphasized. The day featured traditional drumming, singing and dancing, and many besides the dancers chose to wear some form of traditional costume.
Emcee for the afternoon was Jeff Cappo, who introduced the dances and songs, told a few stories and kept the afternoon lively. Welcoming speeches came from Chief Derek Sunshine, elder Melva Desjarlais, and FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron while organizer and band councillor, Darryl Slippery, welcomed everyone. FLFN elder Frank Kayseas gave the invocation in Saulteaux to open the powwow. The Grand Entry was led by the colour party ﬂ ag bearers and included visiting dignitaries, as well as many dancers.
Registered drum groups included the local FLFN’s Thunder Eagle and Yellowquill’s Rock Hill, as well as groups from the Cote and Keeseekoose (Kamsack), and Kahkewistahaw (Esterhazy) areas. Dancers registered by age categories, from Tiny Tots (5 and under) to Golden Age (55 and over), and the nearly 50 dancers included many locals and visitors. Veteran Robert Flores Young Horse from California was the farthest travelled, but most came from all over the Treaty 4 areas of Saskatchewan. Drum groups and singers played in rotation for the dances, starting with Intertribals and continuing with many traditional dances.
The colourful and beautiful regalia for Jingle Dress, Fancy Shawl, Grass, Fancy and Traditional dances provided a feast for the eyes and ears, and joy to the heart, even if one (ahem!) knew little of the cultural signiﬁ cancer The powwow is an important part of First Nations culture and is a teaching tool as well as a social gathering. Singing, dancing, drumming, ceremonies and rituals are all important parts of the powwow. The traditional powwow helps preserve the First Nations heritage and can be a symbol of survival and identity.
Photos By Charlene Wirtz