Southern Alberta Newspapers
The International Peace Pow Wow wrapped up Sunday after two days of performance, dance and cultural sharing at the Enmax Centre.
That cultural sharing aspect is crucial, said Blood Tribe chief and councillor of the Kainai First Nation Lance Tailfeathers, who was in attendance for the Grand Entry ceremony on Sunday; especially given the recent rise in tensions over the Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine cases.
“As far as the Pow Wow goes this weekend, there has not been a lot of discussion of those cases,” stated Tailfeathers, “but I would emphasize again, this is Pow Wow. A place where people come to reflect and spend time, and meet family and friends. And make new friends.
“I would say let’s try to get along and move forward from here … I know there is a lot of challenges out there, and the state of affairs with just our world in general. We have always had those Indigenous challenges (as in those cases) that have always been there from day one. Pow Wow is the essence of that spirit, and that drum chain, to persevere through these troubled times.”
International Peace Pow Wow organizer Mary Ann Crow-Healy of the Blackfoot Canadian Cultural Society concurred with Tailfeathers, and expressed hope that through the cultural sharing which goes on at the event it may further reconciliation efforts.
“Pow Wow is the impetus for the rebirth of North American Indigenous people,” she said. “It’s empowering. And the more I see non-Indigenous faces here at our Pow Wow, the more I know we are doing our job. It is a great time for Indigenous people living in Alberta and Lethbridge.”
Crow-Healy stated she was cognizant of the wider frustration and debate around the Boushie and Fontaine cases amongst many Indigenous peoples, but felt nothing good could come of dwelling on these festering wounds. Speaking of the Boushie case specifically, Crow-Healy said the matter was mainly a judicial issue.
“Gerald Stanley was judged by a jury of his peers, and getting a guilty conviction from that kind of jury is next to impossible,” she said.
“But my personal focus has always been on the positive aspects of my culture and other Indigenous cultures. I am just building on that. I do want to work toward peace. Focusing on the negative is not going to accomplish anything. It is just going to make a lot of people angry and sad. We have got to move forward.”