Friday, June 24, 2016

National Aboriginal Day ~ Tk'emlups ~ Kamloops, BC

National Aboriginal Day is celebrated on June 21, the Summer Solstice and was held in the Tk’emlups PowWow Grounds this year.  2016 is the 20th anniversary of the Aboriginal Day since the federal government announced the first one in 1996.

Tk'emlups PowWow Grounds
The crowd was small considering the size of the grounds but the event began at noon and would finish with fireworks at 10pm.  We were not going to be there for the total time but had a good look around at it all during our mid afternoon visit.

Ed Jensen, artist
Ed Jensen is a talented artist with weapons being his specialty.  He uses natural products for his weapons, as shown here, as well as making jewellery.  Tk’emlups Traditions is the name of his company, very nice work. Click here to see more on his FB page.

Sage Hills dancers
Our timing to visit this event could not have been better. We saw some wonderful hand drumming and dancing by Sage Hills.  They demonstrated many of their traditional dances of their early history that are performed to this day.  What I did miss was an opportunity to take a photo and speak with Opie Oppenheim, a very talented artist who was also at this event.

MC Gord Cutler
The MC was Gord Cutler, if I heard that right, and he did a great job of introducing each dance and giving some history to the meaning of them.  His story telling was enjoyable to hear, I only wish I had been able to write his stories down to pass on but I was too busy taking photos.

Young dancer
The dance group consisted of five adults and three kids.  Their regalia is beautiful and gives a great display of color, especially when they dance.  This little guy was putting it all into his solo dance, and so fun to watch.

"Grass Dance"
This dancer did the ‘Grass Dance’.  This apparently happened when they gathered in their fields of very high grass.  They would dance to stomp the grass down so they would be able to see each other when they sat down.

"Healing Dance"
This beautiful gal was wearing the ‘jiggle dress’ doing the ‘Healing Dance’.  Looking for information on this dress, I came across this:  "It is a gift to be able to dance. The jingle dress was a gift from the Creator. It is important to carry that healing vision to the people."

"Chicken Dance"
This gentleman was dancing the ‘Chicken Dance’ which was used as the mating dance.  It was mimicking the Prairie Chicken’s performance when he is trying to impress a mate and is part of their Aboriginal historical culture.

"Fancy Dance"
These pretty sisters were doing the ‘Fancy Dance’.  It mimics butterflies and hummingbirds as they display their colourful wings in flight.  

"Graceful Walk"
This was the women’s traditional ‘Graceful Walk’ and this lovely lady did the most graceful dance as she circled the arena to the drums of the drummers on stage.

"Warrior Dance"
This was the ‘Warrior Dance’ and was wonderful to watch.  The regalia is gorgeous with lots of feathers and fur.  I did not get the names of the dancers, but they were all very talented and it was a fun way to learn about their history of dance.

"Friendship Dance"
The dancing was finished with a ‘Round Dance’ or ‘Friendship Dance’, which included any and all who wished to join the circle to show their friendship intentions.  As I understood the MC say, it is being done for 24 hours at some of their gatherings!  Now that is a lot of friendship!

Warrior costume
Once the Friendship Dance was completed, the dancers left the stadium with a final number to the beat of the drums by the talented drummers to end their dancing ceremony.
National Aboriginal Day at the Tk’emlups PowWow grounds was a wonderful way to enjoy the afternoon and learn more about the history of our First Nations friends and neighbours.               

Their mission is:
                             “To promote and ensure the physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual well-being of our people and community.”