The first annual Lead by Example Powwow to honour Kristian Ayoungman's life is coming up soon, which has Strathmore and Siksika Nation both excited for what's expected to be one of the biggest powwows in recent memory.
The Town of Strathmore's Indigenous Liaison and Kristian's cousin Astokomii Smith says the powwow will be a great way to celebrate Kristian's life.
"This is a beautiful way to honour Kristian and bring our communities together. I'm so proud and honoured to be a part of this, not just because Kristian was my cousin, or because I'm from Siksika, or because I work for Strathmore, but because I get to be a part of something really big that is going to bring positive change, and I hope you want to be a part of that too."
The Lead by Example Powwow will mark the fourth year memorial for Kristian, and Smith says this powwow is a fitting way to celebrate his legacy and Siksika culture.
"Powwows are a celebration of life, it is a way for us to say we are still here, our traditions, our way of life is still strong despite what we have been through, and we welcome everyone to be a part of those celebrations too."
On top of that, powwows hold additional cultural importance outside of being a celebration.
"A big reason for powwow is healing too. I dance powwow because it is healing for myself and my family, and for everyone there at the powwow."
While the main focus and benefit of this powwow is celebrating Kristian's life, Smith added it has also been another great opportunity for Strathmore and Siksika Nation to continue working together and building a stronger relationship between the communities.
"For Strathmore to host a powwow, it sends a strong message to the community that Strathmore respects and honours the culture, so much so that we want to promote it to our community and encourage everyone to experience it."
With the powwow rapidly approaching, Siksika and Strathmore both continue to prepare everything to make sure that both communities will be ready to host a large amount of people and host large-scale celebrations. The powwow is expected to draw visitors from across Alberta, neighbouring provinces, and potentially even the United States.
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