We acknowledge, respect and honour the First Nations in whose traditional territories the Kootenay Lake School District operates and all Aboriginal people residing within the boundaries of School District #8.
On May 17th, 2019 approximately 1800-2000 youth and adults participated in the 9th annual Youth Pow Wow – presented by School District #8’s Aboriginal Education Department. It was a day to celebrate First Nations youth and culture and celebrate we did! Our theme this year was ‘Stepping Towards Reconciliation’. The belief is that the steps of learning readying our youth for this year’s Pow Wow included classroom lessons, circle storytelling, making of Regalia, Pow Wow drum and dance lessons. These lessons are instrumental in teaching our youth historical truths as well as making the effort to reclaim and celebrate First Nations culture. Ktunaxa Elder, Anne Jimmie welcomed all with prayer and Lower Kootenay Band Council Member, Jared Basil welcomed everyone to Pow Wow. Flags representing the Eagle Staff, Yaqan Nukiy, Canada, United States, Metis and Youth of School District #8 entered the Grand Entry accompanied by over 100 youth in regalia, Elders and visitors.
Special guests Shirley Hill and Luke Whiteman, both championship dancers, invited students from the audience to learn a contemporary Fancy Shawl dance, a Hoop Dance and men’s Fancy Traditional dance. Students spun hoops, spread their butterfly wings and learned both traditional as well as modern steps. The smiles said it all!
The Grade 3/4 class from Yaqan Nukiy School performed a Hoop Dance; five hoops shaped into many images including butterflies and the world to demonstrate the colours of all nations and how, when we work together, we have the power to create a beautiful, caring world.
The afternoon session began with a proclamation to care for our First Nations women, sisters, aunties and mothers. There was an acknowledgement of the many silent voices of the missing Indigenous women (MMIW) in Canada. The proclamation to end violence against women and children was signed by Chief Jason Louie and Mayor Toyota. Those that walked from the LKB Band Office to the Pow Wow included Elders throughout the Ktunaxa Nation, LKB staff and community members from LKB and Creston. They wore the colour red to represent the many missing voices. After the signing of the proclamation, these guests were invited to join the Grand Entry. We want to thank all participants for both their care and efforts to bring greater awareness to this important issue.
The afternoon resumed with a SD#8, Kootenay Lake Graduation Honouring Ceremony for Aboriginal students receiving their Grade 12 diploma this June. It was a time to celebrate their academic achievements, acknowledging their hard work and the many parents, grandparents, teachers and community members that supported them along their journey.
Today we dance because we can! We dance because we are proud. We dance because we are all truly beautiful, unique people. We dance for ourselves, our families and our people. We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the opportunity to learn about First Nations culture and have a wonderful time together!
Special thanks to:
• Elders – we would like to honour our Elders for their love for our children, their continued teachings and support
• Our drum groups that faithfully attend our annual Youth Pow Wow
• Ruben Littlehead – teaching our young students in both the Creston and Nelson schools
• Yaqan Nukiy community and school
• Yaqan Nukiy students and their gift of the Hoop Dance
• Staff and students from Adam Robertson, Erickson and Canyon Lister Elementary schools
• Wildflower – Homelinks
• Prince Charles Secondary staff and students that helped to prepare our special space today
• Mt. Sentinel students that made some of our drum signs
• Jennah AlHanafy, Mount Sentinel Secondary School Academy program who made this year’s Pow Wow Poster
• Mount Sentinel Secondary School Academy poster design participants
• Vanessa Davies and her ARES class – painting some of our drum signs
• Travelers from far and wide including all out of town schools that travelled to spend their day with us
• Students and staff from Aqam
• Our youth flag bearers: Declan Kettle and David Blackmore
• Moose and Nyomi – teaching our youth about the heartbeat of the drum
• Our young Nipku Clan drummers – your beats are strong!
• Justus and Cheri – teaching our students about the steps of the dance
• Mike Payne for our great sound system
• Shirley Hill and Luke Whiteman for sharing their knowledge and love of culture with us
• Columbia Basin Trust and SD#8 for their financial support
• The support of both SD#8 Aboriginal Education Department and Gail Higginbottom
• Danica Weager – you rock! Your kind, gentle, hard-working spirit.
• Wee Grill for our lunch
• SD#8 Maintenance, bus drivers, secretaries, teachers, administrators and support staff – it takes a team to make this happen
• Creston Rec Center for being amazing hosts to our annual Pow Wow and a special shout out to Stu Durning and his crew for always taking such good care of us here at the Pow Wow
• SD#8, Kootenay Lake Board of Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Perkins, for their ongoing support towards Reconciliation which helps to make this Youth Pow Wow possible
• Columbia Basin Trust for their ongoing financial support of this event.
• Our dancers! You were amazing!