Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Piikani Christmas Powwow

Dancer at Piikani Christmas Powwow
C. Davis and T. Lucas photos and video

Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

The Piikani Niipoomaakiiks Society Christmas Powwow took place at Piikani Nation's Gladstone Hall on  Saturday, December 28.  Features of the event included exhibition drumming and dancing,  traditional foods, and name-giving ceremonies.

"Everyone is gathered, at home," explained one of the organizers, Lowell Yellowhorn.  "It's an opportunity to celebrate during the holidays, to come together in a positive environment that's drug and alcohol free. Powwows are very family friendly events."

Yellowhorn was pleased with the turnout.  "From all over southern Alberta, we have representation here."

According to Yellowhorn the Niipoomaakiiks Society is a children's cultural protocol group.  The club functions as a foundational development tool for children in the Blackfoot culture.  They teach singing, dancing, language, cultural protocol and etiquette to children with a target age group of 8 - 14 years old.  The Christmas event was open to all age levels.  "This (event) is a showcase and celebration of their existence, and their growth culturally.  One of the goals is to promote Piikani Blackfoot culture."

Niipoomaakiiks Society Program Coordinator Jason Plain Eagle was very happy with the event and the direction that the society has taken.  The program has been in existence since the early 1990's, with varying levels of support.  "In 2013 it was really revitalized," he said, excited by an opportunity to partner with Scouts Canada to integrate a First Nation aspect into the Scouts program spreading cultural understanding.

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