Plans moving forward to host powwow in Strathmore

Organization is moving forward for a powwow in Strathmore to take place in March, in honour and memory of Kristian Ayoungman.

Melodie Ayoungman, Kristian’s mother, presented to Strathmore Town Council during the Nov. 2 regular council meeting to share an update.

“We have been working closely with the Town of Strathmore and also, I have been in communication with Chief Ouray (Crowfoot) and some council members, and some people from Siksika who would like to participate in sponsoring the powwow,” she said.

“As far as things are going, we have contacted the main staff of those who will be (facilitating) the powwow – the MCs, the arena directors and so forth, and all the people who we contacted are very honoured to have been asked. Everyone is looking forward to this event in March.”

Ayoungman had originally brought the idea forward to Strathmore Town Council in July, which was readily received.

Ayoungman and Town Administration have since been working to plan the powwow for March 18-19, 2023 at the Strathmore Motor Products Sports Centre.

The town has offered to facilitate communications and marketing, securing sponsorship, coordination of donations, and staffing for the event.

According to Town administration, the powwow will continue to support the partnership between Siksika Nation and the Town of Strathmore, as well as reconciliation efforts.

Town of Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule said he was more than pleased for the town to be aiding in the creation of such an event to honour Kristian.

“I think we all agree this is another event to keep on carrying on Kristian’s legacy and who he was as a person and honouring him, and also to bring our communities close together to keep that work going,” he said. “It really brings in a lot of people to Strathmore to do an event that is so powerful … we are really excited about this.”

Kristian Ayoungman was fatally shot on March 17, 2019 during a confrontation that occurred over a pack of cigarettes.

The powwow will be the fourth event organized by Ayoungman to honour her son. She added during her presentation, she would also like to dedicate the event to missing and murdered Indigenous men, citing the demographic is underrepresented.

According to Town of Strathmore CAO Kevin Scoble, a team has been formed with a sponsor, economic development and events staff have been mobilized.

At the time of the council meeting, he reported efforts were being made and scheduled to facilitate the event continuing forward.

The proposed budget for the event is $80,000, of which Town Council has budgeted $10,000 as a contribution, but that amount remains subject to the Town’s upcoming budget discussions.

The Town is also estimating to receive $10,000 of in-kind support from staff, operations and other assorted means of contribution to the event.

Ayoungman estimated the powwow will draw a minimum of between 500 and 800 people into Strathmore to be in attendance. Those who plan to be in attendance are being requested to wear green.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times