Powwow dancer thanks stranger who returned lost regalia

A First Nation powwow dancer returned to Portage la Prairie, Man., this week to personally thank the man who returned his lost regalia.

Luggage fell off back of truck en route to gathering in Manitoba

Todd Papequash of Saskatchewan's Kawacatoose First Nation, left, gives Blaine Bateman a painting as thanks for returning his lost powwow regalia. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

A First Nation powwow dancer returned to Portage la Prairie, Man., this week to personally thank the man who returned his lost regalia.

"I wanted to come back and meet [him] face to face, shake his hand and give him something of my appreciation for what he did," Todd Papequash said.

Papequash gave local man Blaine Bateman a framed painting by Regina-based artist Joe Tapaquon.

Watch their meeting in the video below.

A Kawacatoose First Nation powwow dancer returned to Portage la Prairie, to give thanks to the man who returned his lost powwow regalia. 2:45

"I'm very grateful for what he did," Papequash said. "A lot of people have lost outfits and never seen them again," 

Papequash lost his powwow regalia on Aug. 2. when the bin carrying his gear fell off the back of his truck.

Bateman saw the bin as he was driving on the highway, turned around to pick it up and drove back home to take a look inside.

"I was surprised what was in there," he said.

He knew there was a powwow happening in Long Plains, and made the 20-minute drive to the First Nation to return the bin.

"I've done a good thing that turned into a very good thing," Bateman said. "I'm very happy the man has his stuff back so he can continue on with his traditional dancing."

'Part of our life'

Thanks to Bateman, Papequash and his family will be able to finish up their summer on the powwow trail.

Papequash, a high school teacher in Saskatchewan's Kawacatoose First Nation, uses his time off during the summer to travel to powwows across North America.

"I come from a family that has history — we've all danced powwow," Papequash said. "My dad danced powwow for 50 years. We grew up that way, it's a part of our life."

Papequash clad in his full chicken dance regalia. 'It's a part of who I am. It's part of the Cree man that I am,' he says. (Submitted by Todd Papequash)

He stopped by Portage la Prairie before making his way to another powwow in Shakopee, Minn. He plans to dance there, then travel to another in Pala, Calif., before he gets ready to teach for the school year.

Before Papequash left Portage la Prairie, he shared a story with Bateman on the origin of the chicken dance and what the outfit means to him.

"It's a part of who I am. It's part of the Cree man that I am," Papequash said. "I'm a part of a Cree First Nation — it's my history, it's a way to continue my culture, it's everything to me."

Bateman hasn't been to a powwow, but he says he is hoping to attend one someday.

About the Author

Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation, Treaty 2 territory. He is the co-founder of Red Rising Magazine and has been an associate producer with the CBC's Indigenous unit for three years. Follow him on Twitter: @Lenardmonkman1