May 31, 1999
Today, we are launching 5 stories from Samaritan House Training Centre in Brandon, Manitoba and as a special event you can read their stories as well as hear an audio version. The goal of the Centre is to help our students learn, and to improve their chances of finding meaningful employment through improvement in their academic, technical, communication, and workplace skills.
Edwin Nelson was born in Morris, Manitoba, on a reserve called Roseau River Reservation. He started dancing Men's Fancy Dance at the age of 16. He grew up and lived on the reserve for the first 10 years of his life, then he went to stay with his father in Winnipeg. When he turned 18 years old, he participated in Job Corps from 1995 to 1997. At the age of 20, he moved from his reserve to Brandon, Manitoba and now he has a girlfriend since March of this year.
Play an audio version of this story
The Powwow is so unique, so full of life. A pow wow comes alive after a harsh winter is bring all nations, tribes, people from different walks of life is honour the people. At times the tourist will be invtited to a powwow to see how one works in the actual presences which is overwhelming to see and also this is the time that the Chief and all the Tribal Council of the Reserve will be asked to be in the Grand Entry. The first dancers wil be "led by the Elders, the men dancers follow next, generally in the following order : mens traditional dancers, mens grass dancers, and the mens fancy dancers. Then the women enter, also led by the Elder women and in the order of womens traditional dancers, jingle dress dancers, and then fancy shawl dancers. The teenage boys enter next, followed by the teenage girls and then the younger boys, girls and the tiny tots. The dancers in each category are announced by the MCs as they pass the announce stand. Finally the arena is filled with all of the dancers", each dancing in their own aboriginal regalia.The host drum will begin with one song and the next drum can begin another song or sing the same song over. The drum group singers are responsible for the songs that are passing "from drum to drum, going around the circle until all the dancers are in the center of the circle and dancing. With all remaining in the center of the circle, the prayer song and honouring song for the Veterans begins next. It is a spectacular sight filled with beauty and excitement and pride", that you have to be a participant to fully understand the way of life.
My experience is wonderful only if you have been there to see the way I dance in the mens fancy dance and now I have to make another outfit so I can dance the mens grass dance. I won first for the mens fancy dance and the second pow wow I went to, I won second place. Now I can look forward to the mens grass dance although I still have to work on my outfit, for example, my beadwork and my moccasins. When I get out to dance, I feel so energetic, an incredible high! I started to dance when I was 10 years old by listening to pow wow tapes, so it was self-taught. I learned by my mistakes when I was practice dancing. And now getting back to what kind of events go on at a pow wow like moccasins games and when you dance that has a number on it that means you are in a dancing contest in that category.
When you attend a pow wow you can browse through stands where you can buy powwow tapes and Cd's, powwow outfits and playing games for the kids, souvenirs that you can remember when you went to your first powwow and you can buy star blankets and native foods. And you can take pictures with the dancers, so you have pictures of how a pow wow is run on the Reservation. When I first started to sing pow wow it was at a powwow in Minot, ND and that was when I met Glenda Carlene McKay while I was singing at Minot Job Corp.
The colors of my outfit is red, yellow, white, black of the Medicine Wheel and the designs that will be on my outfit is going be the Medicine Wheel. And the dancers have all different kinds of styles of dances at a powwow and the Chief and Council will asked the Elders to dance after with the Veterans and Princesses, Warriors, The Veterans will be the ones that was in the World War 2 and the Veterans will be carrying the flags for the Grand Entry. Therefore, the songs and the dances have a story about the songs and dances.