The Heart of the Youth Community Pow Wow will return to Kinsmen Park for the fifth time on Friday morning.
Prince Albert Youth Outreach is hosting the Heart of the Youth Community Pow Wow to honour youth in Prince Albert and the surrounding area. Organizing committee member and local elder Liz Settee is pleased with the event’s growth.
“(I am) looking forward to it,” Settee said. “It’s grown so much. Since its inception in 2018, it has continually grown every year.”
Settee estimated the 2022 attendance level at around 3,200 people attend, and she expects it to keep growing. The organization committee is preparing for 3,500 to 3,800 attendees.
Even during the pandemic years, the pow wow was successful. When the event went virtual in 2021 there were more than 2,000 screens tuned in.
“It’s for the youth, but it’s also for the community,” Settee explained. “It’s everything’s in the title, it’s a community, and it’s for the youth and it’s for the community.”
The Heart of the Youth Pow Wow will gather children/youth and supporting adults in the center of Prince Albert at Kinsmen Park to participate in a community pow wow as spectators, participants, or volunteers.
“It’s a place for the youth to showcase their talent when they practice in schools and competition,” Settee explained. “They don’t have the self-esteem or the confidence to get out there and go into competition. This is for them to go and practice what they’re learning in the schools and have a lot of fun while they’re doing it.”
All the schools in Prince Albert are invited and dancers come from around the province to participate. The weather has a history of cooperating too.
“Every year we’ve had it, it’s been nice,” Settee said. “On the first year it rained a little bit, but ever since then we’ve had beautiful weather.”
The Grand Entry will be at 10 a.m. with the day closing by around 2 p.m. Last year they removed gender identifiers from dances so they were simply shawl, traditional, Jingle or any other type of dance. Settee explained that was because everyone is welcome in the circle and has gifts and talents.
“It’s non-binary so anybody can dance in any categories that they feel comfortable in and that came from the youth. We have we have a lot of youth that come self-identify as Two Spirit and we want to respect that.”
If you want to get the whole experience Settee encourages everyone to come to Kinsmen Park and experience the day.
“If you haven’t been, come and check it out,” she said. “The energy is absolutely amazing, and there’s food. Talk to somebody you don’t know. Talk to the dancers. What inspires the dancers like this? To me, this is also part three about truth and reconciliation.
“Everybody is welcome but get a little bit out of your comfort zone and talk to somebody you’ve never met before. Create confidence, create conversation and connection.”