'The arbour saved my life,' says powwow dancer who survived brain tumour

In 2006, Wallace Moar Jr. from Crane River, Man. found out he had a brain tumour. That diagnosis led him to powwow dancing.
Wallace Moar survived a brain tumour diagnosis and surgery, he says powwow dancing helped him heal. 0:57

In 2006, Wallace Moar Jr. was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

"They told me I had six months to live, so I wandered around … looking and looking [for answers]," said Moar, who's from O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation on Crane River, Man.

"Finally, I approached this elder, he told me, 'Start dancing ... you got to go back to where you come from.'"

Dancing men's traditional powwow helped Moar through his recovery from surgery. 

"When I started dancing everything went away, just like that … I'm happy to say that I'm good today," said Moar.

"The arbour saved my life … that's where we healed [and] that's where everybody celebrated."   

Headpiece bears resemblance to animal

What's most striking about Moar's powwow regalia is the real bear head he wears as a mask.

"I got this head from this fellow, he had it in his house and I said, 'What are you going to do with that?'"   

"He said, 'That bear is looking right at me no matter where I look …. I'm going to throw him away.'"

Wallace Moar survived a brain tumour, and says that powwow dancing helped him in his recovery. (CBC/Stephanie Cram)

"I said, 'Well I'll give you a few bucks for him.' He handed it to me, I gave him some tobacco … and I made it my own."

For Moar, dancing at the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation powwow was a return to his roots. The first time he ever danced men's traditional was at Sandy Bay, which is where his mother was from.

Wallace Moar holds the bustle from his regalia. (CBC)