Student volunteers aim to give pow wow attendees a lifetime of memories

Heart of the Youth Pow Wow student volunteer Shannelle Lebel shows off the new volunteer shirts during an meeting on May 15. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Paxton Red Sky is a bit nervous, but it’s in the service of a good cause.

Red Sky, a student at the Won Ska Cultural School in Prince Albert, is one of more than a dozen youth volunteers lending a helping hand ahead of the Heart of the Youth Pow Wow on May 24.

This isn’t Red Sky’s first time as a volunteer—he also helped out last year—but that doesn’t mean there’s no nervous excitement.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking right now, but as soon as we get to the pow wow and we get to see everybody I’ll get comfortable with it and then hopefully it will turn out great,” he says, then pauses. “I don’t have to hope for it. I know it will turn out great, but I just want it to be the best day ever for everyone.”

With Heart of the Youth still one week away, Red Sky and his fellow students are holding an after school volunteer meeting to help assign tasks and get organized. The group includes past participants like Red Sky who helped out at the inaugural pow wow in 2018, as well as fresh faces like Tiara Zebrasky-Moore, a Grade 12 student at Wesmor Public High School.

“I’m in a leadership class and we like to volunteer,” she explains. “We just thought it would be a really good idea to help.”

Zebrasky-Moore attended last year’s pow wow as a student, and although she wanted to volunteer then she didn’t get the chance. She’s exited to have the opportunity to help her peers showcase Indigenous culture in Prince Albert, something she thinks should happen more often.

“It’s important to show our culture and make sure that we still celebrate it in some way within the city,” she said.

For the student who came out to volunteer, showcasing their culture is one of their top priorities. However, it’s not the only one.

Volunteers like Victor Daniels, another Won Ska student, say it’s a great way to build community bonds and make lasting friendships. He’s hoping his fellow student will look back on the pow wow as a time full of fond memories.

“When there’s a pow wow going on it brings in a lot of memories,” Daniels says. “There’s something where you can just go there, have a good time, visit, or just enjoy the powwow and the ceremonies.”

“Seeing all these little kids, like dancers and stuff, having a big smile and talking about it at the very end, that’s something that everybody should live for,” Red Sky adds. “Live in the moment…. You’ve got to make the most of it. Make it the best that you can, and this pow wow can really make it good.”

The second annual Heart of the Youth Pow Wow is scheduled for Friday, May 24, 2019 at Kinsmen Park in Prince Albert. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.