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ACCI flows from the knowledge that Cree culture must be captured, maintained, shared, celebrated, and practiced. Cree Elders have spoken of the need for a central place for the protection of the way, and have developed a vision for Aanischaaukamikw over several decades.

May 27, 2014

Introduction to Traditional POW-WOW Dancing & Outfit Making Workshop

The weather has changed, finally, winter has come and gone and summer is quickly approaching and the powwow circuit is starting to heat up.  In August, Ouje-Bougoumou will host its 4th annual Powwow and this year is going to be special.  This will be the first time that the Ouje-Bougoumou Powwow will actually happen in the community, and there is a great deal of excitement surrounding this event. 

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute, in partnership with the community of Ouje-Bougoumou is presenting a Powwow workshop.   We have two accomplished dancers, Paula Menarick and Gabriel Whiteduck here to teach. All are welcome including youth, those that are interested in Powwows and those that are veterans of Powwows. Paula and Gabriel will be teaching basic dance techniques and the art of making regalia for this summer’s Powwow. In addition, they will be discussing the meaning of a Powwow and what happens during this event.  


We have just finished our first week of the workshop which was dedicated to a younger audience; all through the week we had boys and girls ages 6 to 12 dancing in the Billy Diamond Hall. It was great!  This was the first exposure to Powwow dancing for many of our participants, and they were treated with a performance at the beginning to witness the many styles of dance.  Seeing two amazing dancers in full regalia lit the eyes up of these young dancers, and ignited their enthusiasm for dancing. 

 Throughout the week, the future young Powwow dancers were quickly learning the steps of the various dances.  The girls tried a few steps of the Jingle Dress Dance; however the Fancy Shall Dance soon became much more popular.  Could it be that these young girls were in awe of Paula’s regalia and are aspiring to dance like her?  Only they could answer that question. Regardless, they became very good, and their future as dancers is certainly bright.  The boys were exposed to the men’s Traditional Dance, and they quickly learned the rhythm and how to step with the beating of the drum.  With the assistance of Gabriel, the boys learned how to tell their own story about life of hunting and fishing in the bush through dance.  The boys were quickly picking up the steps and ideas of how to dress for the Powwow this summer.

Dance, sewing and laughter were served in the first week of our Powwow workshop and as the second week approaches with and older audience, it is certain that there will be more exciting times to come.