Canim Lake’s Annual Traditional Powwow highlighted the importance of remembering missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“It offered a chance to heal for other families or people that might have been at the powwow who might have had a family member who went missing, who might not have been found or that has been found,” said Denise Archie, who is a committee member of the Canim Lake Powwow.
The gathering ran from July 12 to 14 and featured a grand entry, prayer, a princess pageant, games, raffles, traditional dancing and retiring of the flags.
Each year, a new theme is chosen for the traditional powwow and the Canim Lake Band felt this year should highlight those who’ve been murdered or have gone missing.
“It’s been highlighted throughout Canada for the last little while,” said Archie. “We have had members in our own community, there’s at least four that I can think of who’ve gone missing or have been murdered. It’s not just an issue in other places and it’s not just girls who go missing, but men as well.
The powwow offered a chance for those who wished to talk about this issue, speak to the crowd and share their stories. Archie said the powwow didn’t see as many participants as it did last year but thought it was a good turnout, nonetheless. While the weekend offered a chance for healing, it also offered a chance to celebrate.
“The powwow went really well,” said Archie. “The weekend was packed with activities and our schedule went smoothly. We had one drum group who was the only drum group for the weekend from Saskatchewan.”
Before handing over their crowns, reigning junior princess, Eva Mancia Archie and reigning senior princess, Zanna Herry performed their specials. The specials included dancing which was followed by their giveaway.
Kimora Louis, who is from the Okanagan Band was chosen as this year’s senior princess for Canim Lake Band and Logan Archie was chosen as the junior princess. Archie is a member of Canim Lake Band.
“Our powwows are always traditional,” said Archie.
The princesses will represent their powwow and community at other powwows throughout British Columbia and the United States.
“They represent us in a respectful way,” said Archie.