The Lead By Example Powwow will be held in Strathmore from March 18 – 19, The powwow is to honour Kristian Ayoungman who was tragically murdered four years ago on March 17, 2019, on a highway near Strathmore. Ayoungman was an elite hockey player, a champion dancer, and an inspiring leader to many other youths in the community.
Indigenous Liaison to the Town of Strathmore Astokomi Smith speaks to what they hope for an event like this as both communities work toward healing, reconciliation, cultural understanding, and acceptance.
“I think that the biggest goal is for us to build better relationships with the Town of Strathmore and Siksika Nation and with Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people.”
Ayoungmans mother, Melodie Ayoungman–Hunt knew that healing over her son's death could also heal racial injustice in her communities. For four years, Ayoungman – Hunt has worked with the Town of Strathmore and Siksika Nation to deepen relationships, build partnerships and inspire people through Ayoungman’s memory.
It has been four years since Ayongmans passing and Smith explains that the number four is very special, especially for Indigenous people. Smith says that there are four directions, four seasons and that for the fourth memorial of Ayoungman’s passing they wanted to do something very big and very special.
“We are going to see a lot of different nations coming together to share different songs and dance. We welcome all people, and this is just to highlight our enduring strength of Indigenous culture.”
Since planning the Powwow with the Town of Strathmore and working so closely with community members for the past few years, Smith explains that is what really has brought Siksika Nation and Strathmore closer together and that is one of the reasons that the powwow is being held in Strathmore.
“It does send a strong message for Strathmore to host the powwow, to me that says that they are welcoming Indigenous culture and people in their community so much so that they want to have this big event and showcase the culture.”
When it comes to the performers and who is performing, Smith there is a schedule for both days and performers will come and go throughout the weekend, “People just show up. I know that we are going to have 300 – 500 dancers and they are coming from all over Canada and the U.S.”
Normally planning an event of this size and scope would take up to a year noted Smith but with support from many different areas, they were able to work together and plan this in just four months.
Smith also explains that they are still opportunities for sponsorship, and also volunteer positions are available details for both can be found on their website leadbyexamplepowwow.ca., in addition, those wishing to attend can purchase tickets on the website, tickets are $5 for adults and anyone under 17 or over 65 can attend for free.
The Lead by Example Powwow will be at Strathmore Motor Products Sports Centre and will start at 1 pm on Saturday (March 18) with the grand entrance. For more information about the Powwow and to see the schedule of activities visit leadbyexamplepowwow.ca.
Smith expressed her gratitude to both members of Siksika Nation and the Town of Strathmore who come together to make a powwow of this size take place, and she hopes with the success of this event it could be an annual powwow held in honour of Ayoungman.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org