Swift Current Pow Wow organizers ready for June 14-15 event

Staff ~ The Southwest Booster
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Colourful Pow Wow costumes will be on display at the Living Sky Casino Pow Wow on June 14-15.

Excitement is beginning to grow now that the final plans are in place for the 2014 Swift Current Pow Wow next month.

Organizers say everything should be ready in time for the June 14-15 event at Kenetic Exhibition Park.

“Everything is in place, as of a couple weeks ago,” says Living Sky Casino General Manager Trevor Marion.  “All the staff that we need to make this event possible are confirmed.”

The Swift Current Pow Wow is organized by Living Sky Casino in partnership with Nekaneet First Nation. This is the city’s fourth annual Pow Wow, but organizers moved the date back from their original February time slot, and the move has been nothing but beneficial.

“We’ve got no other Saskatchewan Pow Wows that are on that weekend, which is why we took off our look at getting this date done,” Marion says.  “We’ve got many Pow Wows that occur the week after, with it being Aboriginal Day, so this will be a great opportunity, a great warm-up, moving to those bigger Pow Wows.”

Marion says Pow Wows allow First Nations people to keep their cultural traditions alive, and he’s excited for the chance to share that tradition with visitors.

“They keep that dance, that spiritual content alive for us First Nation people, the First Nation culture.  The drum represents so much.  It’s the heartbeat of the earth.”

The Pow Wow isn’t doesn’t just keep cultural traditions alive, or provide an opportunity to learn about other traditions.  It also provides a boost to the economy.  Organizers estimate that 2,000 to 3,000 people come to Swift Current each year for the Pow Wow, and that number appears to be growing.

“It’s not just people that have been here before, right,” he says.  “With the Pow Wow trail now being set up, we’re on that scene every year, so we get new people every year.”

Swift Current is one of many gatherings on a provincial Pow Wow circuit.  That helps attract bigger crowds, which is something Marion says many people didn’t think they’d see four years ago.

“When we first started people couldn’t believe that we finally got the circuit going down here,” he says.  “There’s not many first nations communities around us here. We were a little bit hesitant, because we didn’t know how many people we would get.”

However, Marion says they’ve found their niche with the June date, and the local Pow Wow is becoming a big event.

“We’ve got a great following,” he says.  “I think people look forward to coming to our Pow Wow.”

Marion says they didn’t want to overshadow the Pow Wow by bringing in too many other events.  However there will be a few other activities on that weekend, including performances by First Nation musicians as well as the chance to sample traditional cuisine.  It’s also free.

“We don’t charge either to enter into the event, or to take part in the feast or the feeding that we do.  It’s customary for us to feed our guests as First Nation people, so anybody who comes out during or closer to suppertime, they’ll be offered food.”

Marion says he’s happy with how things are turning out so far.  Now, he’s just hoping to see visitors come out, take everything in, and perhaps learn something they didn’t know before.

“It’s a great way to break down those barriers.”

Organizations: Living Sky Casino, Nekaneet First Nation

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Nekaneet First Nation

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