Melodie Ayoungman-Hunt, who launched the Lead by Example Powwow, recently announced the creation of a foundation that will promote healing, reconciliation, and bring communities together. 

The Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman Foundation was announced this past February and was named after and inspired by Ayoungman-Hunt's son, Kristian, who was killed in 2019. 

Kristian was 24 when he lost his life. He was a talented hockey player and champion Powwow dancer from Siksika. He was an inspiration to many community members in Strathmore and Siksika. 

“Last year, the 2023 Lead by Example Powwow was our boys fourth-year memorial, and we approached the town to do a Powwow to bring everyone together in a good way so we can all continue to move forward and learn about one another and spend time together while learning about First Nations dances, songs, and culture.” 

The first 2023 Powwow was a huge success, with over 2,000 people in attendance from Canada and the United States. Ayoungman-Hunt felt overwhelming support from community members, leading to the creation of the foundation. 

“The foundation was created with the support of the Town of Strathmore and Siksika Nation to commence forward with the Lead by Example Powwow and other forms of reconciliation work,” Ayoungman-Hunt said. 

Ayoungman-Hunt was supported by Mayor Pat Fule and Kevin Scoble with the Town of Strathmore and Chief Ouray Crowfoot of Siksika Nation, who all helped to put their efforts in to make the Lead by Example powwow a huge success. 

Not only are Powwows a time to share First Nations culture, but they are also deeply healing for Ayoungman-Hunt, her family, and many community members. 

“In Blackfoot culture, everyone belongs. This is an opportunity to share our culture, our language, and the resilience of First Nation peoples in a beautiful and positive way. Myself and my family turn to our ceremonies, and that's what has carried us through this healing journey of what we are going through with the loss of our son.” 

Ayoungman-Hunt created the Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman Foundation to promote reconciliation and end racism while remembering the legacy her son left behind, which is to always lead by example. 

“Our true Blackfoot ways are to be humble, which is the hardest thing to do when something awful comes at you. If you really follow the Blackfoot ways, you will see that life is more beautiful without negativity, violence, and arrogance.” 

The next Lead by Example Powwow is taking place June 7-9 at the Strathmore and District Agricultural Grounds. 

The event will feature an Indian Relay Race, Powwow, food vendors, craft and art vendors, performances by local artists, including Armond Duck Chief, and more. 

The Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman Foundation sent out invites to all the schools in Strathmore and Siksika to participate in a Cultural Sharing Day on June 6 before the Powwow starts so students can learn about Blackfoot culture and history and meet some of the entertainers, dancers, and Indian Relay team members who will be performing at the event. 

To learn more about the Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman Foundation and the Lead by Example Powwow, visit their website or Facebook page under the name “Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman Foundation.” 

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