The Lead by Example Powwow is underway in Strathmore.

The grand entry took place on Friday night at the Strathmore Ag Grounds.

Melodie Ayoungman-Hunt, mother of Kristian says the second annual event is meant to honour her late son, who was tragically shot and killed on a highway near Strathmore in 2019 following a dispute over cigarettes.

She says her son was an elite hockey player with the Agra Risk Wheatland Kings and a champion dancer.

By sharing her story of healing over her son’s death she's hoping it can help deal with racial injustice in her communities. 

Members of Strathmore Town Council and First Nations from all across Canada took part in the Grand Entry on Friday night.

Astokomii Smith, the town's Indigenous Liaison says there has been a lot of support from the Siksika Nation and surrounding communities for the powwow.

Ayoungman-Hunt says this year's event is at the Ag Grounds for the first time, which has allowed the group to not go over building capacity like when they were at the Sport Centre last year.

There will be Indian Relay Races, Indigenous competitive powwow dancing and a few grand entries throughout the weekend.

Ayoungman-Hunt says the powwow is a great way for people to learn about Indigenous culture.

"We just want to make sure everyone is welcome and come learn, enjoy, participate."

Smith says this is about bringing First Nation and non-First Nation communities together, "We're really trying to provide an opportunity for non-natives to learn."

Ayoungman-Hunt says people are coming to the powwow from the Edmonton area, and one of the head staff flew in from Ontario along with a few coming in from the United States.

"The story we're sharing, our healing journey has touched many people and they want to come and see what powwow is about," explains Ayoungman-Hunt.

This year Ayoungman-Hunt says they had a Cultural Sharing Day for schools, with about 500 students registered, bringing Strathmore and Siksika Nations together.

"This gave that opportunity to undo the wrongs of residential schooling where our people were not able to speak our language or practice and live our way of life."

She says the students in Siksika Nation are being taught to be proud of where they come from and teach other students in town about it.

The event will run until Sunday.