A group of around 4,000 people are expected to show up on Saturday and Sunday for the annual Prince George Native Friendship Centre-hosted pow wow.
It’s taken the hard work of a 14-member committee to help organize the event, but programs director and pow wow coordinator Bobbie Koll said “all the work is worth it in the end.”
The event is expected to consist of 100-120 dancers of all different ages, from six-year-olds who dance in the tiny tots category, to people 50 years and older who dance in the golden age category. They often have people that are in their 90s dancing at the event, in traditional clothing.
Pow wows have been around in the Prince George area for the past 40 years, and were brought here by plains indians who moved to the land, bringing their traditional dance moves and practices to the region.
“In Alberta and the plains they’ve been going on (with pow wows) forever,” said Koll.
The Prince George Native Friendship Centre has been hosting the annual pow wow since 1993.
Locals Shane and Tyler Makinaw are to emcee the event.
“They were chose because the traditional pow wow is a learning pow wow … They’re training to become emcees,” said Koll.
Also present will be Robin Chouinard, who will be the arena “whip man,” clearing the areas for dancers, calling categories, taking care of the drummers, and organizing everyone participating.
The event’s host drummers are the Carrier Nation from Burns Lake. Koll expects three additional drum groups in total to be out drumming at the events.
They will be drumming around a massive drum, which averages around two-and-a-half feet across, and can seat anywhere from five to 14 people around, all drumming at once.
The dancers will be in the middle of everything, surrounded by tents, spectators, and the emcee, dancing on the grounds that Alden Pompana, a spiritual advisor, will have cleared and blessed prior to the events.
Dancers only have to be 1/8 Aboriginal, and can be of any tribe, making it more of a less restricted open dance than many other events.
Concession stands will be available serving First Nations food, including bannock, Native style bread, and First Nations tacos. Koll describes these tacos as large pieces of bannock with taco toppings on top.
“They’re very very popular … Some people show up just for the First Nations taco,” she said.
There is also going to be a Junior Princess Pageant, where girls 6-12 vie for a crown to represent the pow wow and further pow wows she goes to.
A crafter’s area will have various native artist pieces. There will also be a kid’s area with face-painting, storytelling, and arts and crafts.
The festivities are to be held on Saturday, from noon to around 9 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to around 6 p.m. at the Carrie Jane Gray Park baseball diamond. They were previously scheduled to host the event at Cottonwood Park, but had to relocate due to recent flooding.
There is no admission price, and anyone interested is encouraged to attend.