By Chris Marchand
Hundreds flocked to the shores of Eagle Lake this past weekend for one of the region’s largest and most inclusive First Nation cultural events in the region.
The Eagle Lake Pow Wow celebrated its 31st season in 2013 with the usual assemblage of colourfully adorned dancers, a variety of traditional singing and drumming groups from near and afar, not to mention a virtual shopping mall of food and craft vendors.
Feasts on both Saturday and Sunday evening fed up to 1,000 people — a meal the entire community typically works for weeks to stage.
Eagle Lake First Nation Chief Arnold Gardner says the event has its roots in Eagle Lake’s cultural renaissance of the 1970s.
“We got the message from our elders in the early 70s to revive our culture for the future generations,” said Gardner. “We weren’t allowed to gather like this because of the Indian Act. The elders saw it as something for the young people, now I’m getting of age where I’m becoming an elder and I’m glad to see so many young people involved in it.”
Gardner says the pow wow is an event the community takes great pride in with a large volunteer contingent working behind the scenes to welcome their guests.
“Everybody comes out for their own reasons,” says Gardner. “Sometimes they’re dancing for their older people that can’t get out to dance, people who are in hospitals or in jail. We pray for them. You get a good feeling and we welcome anyone who participates to dance if they feel like it.
For more images from the event, see page 8.