Six Forces of Culture: My Chosen Event
Prince George’s Annual Traditional POW Wow is an event put on by the Prince George Friendship Centre, it takes place at the Carrie Jane Gray Park. It is rich in energy and historical popular culture. Hosting the powwow is a way of ensuring the rich heritage of the aboriginal people is preserved. The word Pow Wow, or pau wau, means a gathering of people coming together to trade. Explorers misinterpreted the ceremony of medicine men dancing, thinking all natives gathered to sing and dance in this manner. The modern day Pow Wow evolved from the Grass Dance Societies that formed during the early 1800's. The dances were an opportunity for the warriors to reenact their brave deeds for all the members of the tribe to witness.
The growth of reservations gave rise to the modern Pow Wow. This was a time of transition for Native peoples across North America. Native customs and religions were outlawed. The Grass Dance was one of the few celebrations that were allowed into this new era. The Grass Dance became an opportunity to maintain some of the earlier tribal customs that were vanishing. As other communities and tribes were invited to these celebrations, rights of ownership of sacred items necessary to the Grass Dance were transferred from one band to the other Intertribalism emerged with sharing songs and dances. Today’s Pow Wows offer an updated unique, rich cultural and heritage type experience attracting travelling folk visiting the area. It also allows members of different bands an opportunity to gather together to share and celebrate in their Native American heritage through dancing, music, drum circles, food, games, art exhibits and songs such as the Owl Dance Song. Prince George’s First Nations are known as the Carrier Sekani First Nations people speaking the traditional Dakelh language. Dressed in their exquisite traditional attire they compete in many dances to rhythmic drumming. The Men and boys will compete in the Men's Fancy Dance and grass dances, a tradition that comes from the time when dancers would dance to flatten the grass at a gathering site. Women and girls will compete in jingle dances and fancy shawl dances also known as the Butterfly Dance. A golden age dance features elder dancers over the age of 50, and a tiny tots dance gives the little ones a chance to show their cultural spirit.
The powwow brings in spectators from various places around the globe their teachings of native American ways to native and non native onlookers through their original interpretive dance, songs, drumming, displays of artworks, carvings and traditional native American foods such as bannock (deep-fried bread), and locally caught and smoked salmon have provided much useful information to help aid in educational teachings. The First Nation people have cultures spanning thousands of years. Long before being forced into government socialization programs the First Nations lived much different than they do now.
They were self-sustaining; hunting and fishing, building their shelters, preparing medicines and teaching the native languages to their people. It has only been since the late 60’s and early 70s that Aboriginal people have been able to once again speak freely, openly and without restriction as well as practice their traditional healing methods in their reserves. (McCormick and Wong, 2005) This is why continuing the Pow Wow legacy is so important in this culture.
As a community they hosted a series of these gatherings, this has brought back much of the traditional culture, traditional stories and songs are the elders way of passing on to their youth. A Pow Wow is set up as a series of large circles. The center circle is the dance arena, outside of that is a circle consisting of the MC's table, drum groups, and sitting areas for dancers and their families. At outdoor Pow Wows the drummers and dancers circle is often covered by either a committee built...