'We're the generation bringing everything back': La Ronge powwow to share origins of dances

Thursday's powwow in downtown La Ronge will include detailed explanations of the origin and meaning of dances before each is performed.

Educational component aimed at spreading and sharing culture

A blur of colour and motion. (Warren Kelly)

Thursday's powwow in downtown La Ronge, Sask., is more than just a back-to-school celebration, says an organizer.

Jordyn Burnouf of Northlands College said it's a way for everyone — First Nations and the general public — to learn more about the history and meaning of each dance.

"It's pretty special. It will create some good discussion. We're all still learning," said Burnouf.

In flight. (Warren Kelly)

The powwow is taking place on the Lac la Ronge Indian Band's urban treaty grounds across the street from the La Ronge public beach.

Before each performance begins, champion fancy dancer Patrick Mitsuing will give a detailed explanation. The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation man has placed in the top-three at several recent international events.

Origin stories

"A lot of people don't know each dance has an origin story — telling about our history, a healing dance, a victory dance, a dance for protection so everyone can go home healthy," Mitsuing said.

"It's a fun thing to do and watch, a lot of it has purpose and we're not just fooling around."

The show will feature eight different dance styles, and tell the story of each. He said it's important to do these events to bring culture back, help spread it and share it with people that maybe lost it. 

"Our generation, we're the offspring of the effects of residential schools and the '60s scoop, the stripping of our culture and language," he said.

"We're the generation bringing everything back, bringing our culture back, bringing our dancing, our songs, our languages back. With what went on in the past, it's important to get our identities back. We come from these songs. We did come from these dances and these cultures."

The powwow is scheduled to begin at noon Thursday.


Jason Warick


Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.