Virtual Heart of the Youth Powwow captures spirit of live event

A small group of people watched the Heart of the Youth Community Powwow at the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division Education Centre on Friday morning.

It was a different experience and the same experience around the virtual version of Heart of the Youth Community Powwow on Friday morning. Elder Liz Settee of the organizing committee explained after the event that going virtual gave her much the same experience as the regular event at Kinsmen Park.

“Even if when we have it in person, which we have done twice, it is just the nerves, like did I forget something? Is everything going to go okay and even though Delphine Melechert who sits on the committee and we are the two go getters, she keeps me in line let’s put it that way,” Settee said.

“We got to preview it to make sure if there was any final edits and so after seeing that I could breathe a bit and I could just feel my shoulders relaxing as I was watching it and it was just amazing.”
Seeing the event with a small group of committee and community members the virtual event was intended to capture the spirit of the powwow.

“That was our intent and with having it virtual there is so many behind the scenes things that people normally wouldn’t see and that adds to the learning and the understanding,” Settee said.

The event broke down like a regular powwow with the Grand Entry followed by the introduction of committee and community members before the main event.

Leading up to the main part, which was filmed in March at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre there was the raising of a teepee and an explanation of the pipe ceremony.

Teepee raising in a short period of time. The pipe ceremony was part of what inspired Aiden and Addison McInnes who spoke passionately about the event to city council earlier this year.

“That kind of sparked a fire in them and now they are here every year and they are part of the committee and they were in the video,” Settee said.

The event brought a great feeling of energy to Settee and others in attendance.

“For myself, I don’t know about anybody else but I could feel the energy in the powwow. Whether that was because I was there that day amongst all of that energy and I am just doing transference, I can just see everybody having such a good time. That’s why we do it, the learning, the culture, the enjoyment, the coming together,” Settee said.

Representatives from the city who took part included Mayor Greg Dionne, Ward 3 Coun. Tony Head, Police Chief Jon Bergen and Fire Chief Kris Olson. The city’s inaugural Community Powwow Day was on Friday and will continue on the last Friday of May each year. It will be set aside as a day reserved for education about the powwow and Indigenous culture. Community members will be invited to wear a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt.

Settee thanked the many sponsors including Wes Erlandson of Safeway who is a premium sponsor and is a great supporter of the work.

“ It is things like that that really make this because powwows cost money, everything costs money these days and to have that kind of support and backing from Wes is truly amazing,” she said.

She thanked the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, PA Outreach and CBYF Prince Albert and all of the numerous sponsors of the event,

Throughout the course of the video messages came from organizations involved.

“At the beginning of the video we have the sponsor loop and I’m not neglecting anybody because all of our sponsors, whether it is financial contributions or other contributions it is equally coming together to make such a great video,” Settee said.

Erlandson supports the event because it helps to grow understanding of culture for youth and everyone in the community.

“ This is embracing everything, it’s the culture of the people, it’s the hope of the future, it’s understanding tradition, the respect that’s involved. The youth have such opportunity in this day and age and sometimes they forget that and no one has told them that and they just see doom and gloom and we just need to understand what a great society we live in,” he said.