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