Town Council met with Melodie Ayoungman at Wednesday's town council meeting to further discuss the proposed Kristian Ayoungman's memorial powwow on March 18 and 19, 2023. 

Melodie is Kristian's mother and has been a large part of the planning, and said the powwow would look to honour more than just the life of her son.

"During this powwow, we're also going to be honoring murdered, missing Indigenous men due to the fact that we feel they're underrepresented, and we're asking everyone to wear green. We're also doing a jingle dress healing special, so there's also a men's traditional green dress-up special," she said.

Melodie estimated that the powwow would bring in a significant amount of people. She expects 300 to 500 dancers, and around 100 drummers. She added the social media and community feedback has been incredibly positive, so at a minimum, she says 500-800 people could attend. The timing of the powwow could also draw in more people.

"The feedback is really, really good. And with the powwow in March, that's when powwows kind of dwindle and everyone is looking to attend a powwow. So that's a really good time to have this, a lot of people are saying. And a lot of people are speaking very well of the powwow that they will be attending."

With the event looking to be very large, Councillor Denise Peterson suggested getting schools involved to increase the community presence and promote Indigenous culture education.

"It would be a great opportunity to reach out to all of our school divisions, to be able to bring in their liaison people who work already through Siksika, and both Christ the Redeemer and Golden Hills School Division have access to Indigenous resources. I think it would be a really good thing to activate it at that time, whether it was making ribbon skirts, ribbon shirts, those kinds of things. It would be great to encourage that to broaden the perspective of the community," Peterson said

As for the logistics of planning such a large event, Town of Strathmore CAO Kevin Scoble explained the town has budgeted $80 000 for this event. $10 000 will come from tax money, and an additional $10 000 could come from support from town staff and operations supporting the event. The town is also looking into different grants that could help, like grants for Alberta-Indigenous tourism from the Alberta Government. It's expected that the powwow will have a positive economic impact for Strathmore, as many people may be using our hotels and visiting local businesses. 

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