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The Saskatoon Sixth Annual Intertribal Pow-wow was launched at the Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium, December 27, and featured intertribal dancing, ethnic performances, special performances, the increasingly popular round dances and a full blown "pizzazzy" banquet.
About 5,000 people were in attendance during the three day cultural event. The Saskatoon Pow-wow has been growing by leaps and bounds as an annual event in Saskatoon during the Christmas season for the past six years. As president of the organizing committee for the past four years, Brian Tootoosis said "It's important to remember that we can exercise bur traditions in the urban setting. No doubt, it is difficult to maintain this kind of practice in the city as opposed to the reserve. But the challenge is there for our people, especially, off reserve Indians to sustain our Indian identity with its values and customs."
Brian is a student in the Indian Teacher Education Program.
Kin Tootoosis, a student of the Indian Social Work Education Program, captured the Saskatoon Princess title, along with a few hearts. The princess pageant is an addition to the Pow-wow this year.
Second place winner was Giselle Tootoosis, a grade 10 student of the Native Survival School; third place went to Donna Smokeyday representing the Indian Teacher Education Program. Brenda Brittain, a grade 11 student of E.D. Feehan High School, took third.
The girls were judged on their knowledge of Indian traditions, on their knowledge of problems faced by Indians in an urban setting, their ability in traditional dancing, ability to express daily good character as well as dress, poise and oral speaking skills. Judges were Kate Waygood, Deputy Mayor, as well as representatives of Saskatoon Folk Arts Council, Cultural College elders, Indian Community College representatives, a Department of Secretary of State staff and a former Canadian Indian Princess, Linda Oponechow. The judging took place over a period of three weeks.
Dancers and singers came from all across Canada and the northern part of the United States. Men, women and children had an inspiring opportunity to see their culture displayed with respect and pride. There were over 300 dancers dressed in full regalia, 11 singing groups from Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the States and six ethnic groups were represented on the dance floor.
The riot of colors ranged from the soft, gentle pastels of flowers opening in the morning in dew to the deep magentas of a powerful sunset. Amid this color, people met, renewed and generated lasting friendships. On nimble feet, the youngsters wove in and out of the groups of stately, dignified adults on the dance floor. The round dances provided spectators with the chance to stretch their legs and display their ability and sometimes, their stamina as well.
Several new facets were integrated into the program this year to serve as vehicles for the provincial centennial celebrations but more importantly, to promote better community understanding.
The princess pageant alone involved high school and post secondary institutions in electing a student for this honor. The participating princesses were delighted!
Other PR work included special invitations to the city educators and employees of the police department, especially during their off duty off hours. Joe Kampella, representing the Police force, was one of the guest speakers at the banquet on Sunday, December 28.
The banquet, which was also held at the Centennial Auditorium, was attended by approximately 150 people, keynote speaker was George Stusshnoff from the Secretary of State office. The food was delicious, the ultimate test to self control, even for the holiday season.
The organizing committee included Brian Tootoosis, Ell Bear, Solinus Jolliffe, Bill Brittain, Irene Albert, and Doreen Pooyak, The committee generated $14,300 to ensure the reality and success of the Saskatoon Sixth Annual Intertribal Pow-wow.
[Full-page powwow photo from page 22]
[Full-page powwow photo from page 23]