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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Dawson Creek Aboriginal Family Resources Society is starting up their traditional dance group this week and is inviting anyone interested in learning pow wow dancing.

Practices will take place on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Tremblay Elementary gym, starting this Wednesday.

The culture coordinator for the society, Evelynn Courtoreille, has been running the group since 2010. She says the group is open to all ages, ethnicities, and experience levels and is free for all.

The group usually runs until the spring and is a great way to spend time with your family, exercise, and learn about First Nations culture and ceremonies, according to Courtoreille.

In addition to the Wednesday dance group lessons. Courtoreille is also offering sewing and regalia-making classes on Tuesdays at the society from 3:30 p.m.- 5 p.m.

During the classes, participants will learn how to make ribbon skirts and shirts and their regalia for pow wow dancing. This class is free of charge, with all materials and necessary equipment provided.

The type of regalia designed is based on what dance the individual represents. The decorations, such as feathers and ribbons, are supposed to reflect the spirit of those wearing the regalia.

Courtorielle says all the dance group participants will learn all the protocols of traditional dancing, what each dance represents, and how to dance them all.

“Once someone learns all the dances, they will naturally be drawn to the one that suits them best and makes them feel good. All the dances are for healing and prayer but have specific meanings behind them,” said Courtorielle.

“When you are traditional dancing, you go out there with your head held high because you are dancing for your ancestors, your community, those that can’t dance, and most importantly, for yourself.”

There are two types of pow wows: traditional and competitive.

Courtoreille says she enjoys them both equally.

“Pow wow is a family, and you get to meet new members and catch up with those you haven’t seen, and cheer each other on.”

There is no need to register for the dance group. Those looking to participants are asked to show up with comfortable clothes and an open heart.

Parents or guardians must attend with young children. Anyone who would like more information can contact the Dawson Creek Aboriginal Family Resources Services at 250-782-1169

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Kirsta Lindstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tansi! Kirsta Lindstrom is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter covering Indigenous affairs at Energeticcity.ca. She is of Cree and Swedish descent, hailing from the vibrant community of Saulteau First Nations. She has two children ages 12 and 14 and currently resides in Dawson Creek. She has worn a multitude of hats and titles within the Peace Region, but her passion has always been about creating space and opportunities to pass along the traditional knowledge of our ancestors to guide...