TAYLOR, B.C. – The 15th annual Spirit of the Peace Powwow wrapped up on June 12th after a weekend full of dance and drum competitions, prayers and “good medicine.”

Co-organizer Connie Greyeyes says the powwow was “awesome” and “so cool ” after a two-year hiatus.

“It obviously kept us all on our toes, but it was still relaxing. A lot more relaxing than I thought it would be,” she said.

(Spencer Hall)

The powwow saw the mayors of Dawson Creek, Taylor and Fort St. John attend.

Greyeyes says that the increased support is important in light of the recently found children at residential schools.

“It brought out that desire by members of the community, local governments, industry, to realize that they also have a responsibility towards that reconciliation and healing for our community,” she said.

The Chief of Blueberry River First Nation and Prophet River First Nation was also in attendance and said a few words.

“When we see those buses come in from the communities, we know that all of the hard work that we have just built up to have and host this powwow is all worth it. When you see those elders coming off the buses and getting ready to sit down all weekend and watch dancing,” the co-organizer said.

As the powwow was also a competition, Greyeyes mentions a winner that had left to get back on the road but had to be called back.

“She came running up, and she was crying. She was holding that envelope to her chest in gratitude. Then she was just like, ‘I just can’t believe I won, I just can’t believe it,'” she said.

The same situation happened to another winner.

“She said, ‘you’re not even going to believe it, my bank account is at zero, and I went there, and I just wanted to dance,’ and I said, well, you danced well enough that somebody and some people believe in you. You came in third, and we need to figure out a way to get your winnings to you.”

Greyeyes says that not one dancer left without an honorarium or placing, as that happens at traditional powwows.

“We managed to pull off a competition powwow and still have that traditional aspect to it,” Greyeyes said.

She says that some dancers travelled as far as 16 hours to join, but they were taken care of, thanks to local vendors and community members who would come down with desserts, sandwiches.

“It was this outpouring of giving that makes it so special. Even though it is a competition, it still has that traditional feel and can’t get any better than that at a powwow,” Greyeyes explained.

On Sunday, they prayed for Greyeyes’ son to return to the powwow circle and remind him “of all the goodness that he has inside of him.”

She says that the prayers were also for him to be proud of who he is and return to the circle “because that’s where he belongs.”

“He danced on Sunday afternoon for his kokum and for himself, and he danced beautifully. You wouldn’t have guessed that he hasn’t danced in three years.”

She also got to honour her nephew, who is over 60 days sober, and her other nephew and niece, who are graduating.

“It was just a really special weekend. And I hope that anybody who came out felt that really good vibe that that powwow brings to so many.”

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.