Bringing together Indigenous nations from across Turtle Island, the annual Tsuut'ina Powwow returns this weekend after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
Chief Roy Whitney of the Tsuut'ina Nation said this year's powwow is important not only to carry on traditions passed down through generations, but also to bring the community together as the pandemic caused so much isolation.
"This brings positive energy and good energy into the dance and into the people," Whitney said.
Kristen Meguinis, powwow coordinator, agreed that the powwow's return is reason for much happiness and celebration.
"It feels really good to have it back because us First Nation people, we're all very family-oriented," she said.
This year marks the powwow's 62nd anniversary. Whitney said the event was first started by former Tsuut'ina Chief Jim Starlight and other elders from the community.
Meguinis said this year the powwow brought together nations from across Treaty 7 territory — including the Piikani, Sisika and Kainai nations — and beyond. Even families from the United States have come to the event.
While bringing together several nations is an essential part of the powwow, Meguinis said one of the most important aspects of the event is simply having fun.
"That's what celebrations are for: to show people a good time."
The Tsuut'ina Powwow runs until Sunday and takes place at the Redwood Meadows fairgrounds, west of Calgary.
Reconciliation and the Papal visit to Edmonton
At the powwow, Whitney also commented on Indigenous groups meeting with the Pope during the upcoming Papal visit to Edmonton.
"For our people who had the experience of residential school, I think it's a step in the right direction," he said.
"We have to move beyond the anger and let positive things come."
Chief Whitney said reconciliation needs time because of how much residential schools have impacted Indigenous communities, preventing language and knowledge from being passed down.
"There has to be resolution for our people. That's not going to happen with just one apology."