Pictured above: Nantai Lightning Bedonie (left) performing the Grass Dance. Shuudiin Whitehorse performing the Fancy Shawl dance.
Nearly 200 awe-inspiring clips of dancers dressed in colorful regalia, shawls and dresses were submitted to Manito Ahbee’s judging panel for their 2021 Virtual Pow Wow competition.
The Pow Wow is an important part of the Manito Ahbee Festival, which was held this year on the weekend of May 21 - 24. It is a celebration of life that honors Indigenous cultures and traditions through music and dance, bearing symbolism in all aspects of the performance. This year’s Pow Wow was held virtually for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Additional programming between performances included educational land-based teachings, along with promotions to the new Qaumajuq Inuit gallery.
Pictured above: Royce Kingbird (left) performing in the Golden Age (60+) Men’s category. Amanda Goodwill performing in the Junior (6-12) Girls’ category.
The Pow Wow dances served not only to honor traditions still deeply integrated in today’s Indigenous communities, but also to remind the youth of the importance of Indigenous cultures and values in their daily lives.
With more than 30 categories to compete, dancers submitted videos of their Pow Wow dances to display their skills and to pay homage to their culture by performing on the land they belong to. Ronald Dee Goodeagle Sr. served as the Head Man Dancer at the request of the Manito Ahbee Committee, prominently displaying the Indigenous spirit by dancing in spite of difficulty caused by his prosthetic leg.
Pictured above: Ronald Dee Goodeagle Sr. offering his thanks and acknowledgement of the Manito Ahbee Committee for selecting him to open the 2021 Pow Wow.
“His video and message are just one of the reasons why it is so important for the Manito Ahbee Festival to share our culture,” Manito Ahbee Festival Director of Operations Sandy Fox shared about Goodeagle. “Indigenous people are strong and have overcome so much adversity. We never give up. We celebrate any way we can. And that is what Manito Ahbee is all about.”
The North West Company was once again proud to sponsor this year’s event, having provided this year’s $25,000 prize pool.
To learn more about this year’s Pow Wow winners, please visit the Manito Ahbee Festival website where you will also find recordings of the Pow Wow presented at this year’s festival.