Dragon Hare Studios – This past weekend, we had the honor of attending the Onion Lake Cree Nation Powwow. One of our September couples are Powwow dancers and they invited us to attend! I can honestly say, I have never before experienced such a deep and rich tribute to one’s culture. It was incredible, beautiful, amazing, inspiring and so much more than I can even assign words for!
This Powwow was a competition but in between competitive levels, family’s were honored in “specials”. I found these especially beautiful! The first one we witnessed was a tribute to a dancer who had passed away. I was so moved as I watched his family walk slowly around the circle that was lined with dancers. As the procession moved along, the dancers joined the family to honor them. As they completed the circle, the elders turned and greeted each dancer. Then the family was asked to start the dance and after a while, the remaining dancers were asked to join. It was powerful and very moving. As someone who has lost a very close loved one, it was exceptionally moving for me to see the honor these people held for their loved one. It had been four years since they lost him, but he was alive in their hearts and very much a part of this dance. Such a beautiful moment cherishing a loved one! I wish I had some way like this to honor my brother and all his life stood for because I think it would give my grief a focus or outlet instead of just being held inside.
The second special we witnessed was to honor a young man. At the Powwow, there are different categories based on age. This young man was moving from a youth category into an adult category and his family chose to honor him with a special. Again, the family walked slowly around the circle and then the young man danced on his own before being joined by the 70+ dancers who lined the circle and were in his new age category. Our groom danced in this special but this time, I wasn’t just a spectator on a bleacher many feet away! This time I was able to sit on the edge of the circle and photograph him!
It was truly incredible! The regalia was so beautiful and each dancer was so uniquely different! I couldn’t decide on a favorite as each outfit was so detailed and different! Tyler’s vest was hand beaded by his soon to be wife and the detail was exquisite! He had such presence that made it easy to photograph his pride in who he is!
The Onion Lake Powwow had more than 400 dancers attending and if you would like to share in this rich celebration of culture, Frog Lake Powwow is taking place in late August! It was more than just dancers in a circle, it was a celebration of a rich culture full of appreciation for family and life!