Powwow celebrates spring and healing

Honor the Earth sponsored a traditional spring powwow for the second year in a row Saturday at Pine Point School under the theme "Water Is Life."

Kathi Larson and her children, Keagan Goodman, Tylie Smith, Tyler Smith and Tacia Beauchamp prepare to represent the White Earth Band of Ojibwe at the opening of Saturday's powwow.

Kathi Larson and her children, Keagan Goodman, Tylie Smith, Tyler Smith and Tacia Beauchamp prepare to represent the White Earth Band of Ojibwe at the opening of Saturday's powwow.

The youngest member of a multi-generational group of drum singers keeps his eye on the eldest while the group performs a favorite song at Saturday afternoon's powwow.

The youngest member of a multi-generational group of drum singers keeps his eye on the eldest while the group performs a favorite song at Saturday afternoon's powwow.

While some participants in the grand entry moved in sedate step, some danced up a sweat and kept the tassels of their ceremonial regalia in motion.

While some participants in the grand entry moved in sedate step, some danced up a sweat and kept the tassels of their ceremonial regalia in motion.

"It's to welcome spring here," explained Winona LaDuke, executive director and co-founder of Honor the Earth. The non-profit organization is based on the White Earth reservation and advocates for environmental causes, such as opposing the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline.

"We've been waiting for spring for a long time," LaDuke said. "It's been a brutal winter for a lot of people. We're also dancing for our water. We brought in water from Big Bear Spring, on the north side of our reservation, one of our premium sources of water, which also is impacted by the proposed pipeline."

Noting that the water in Pine Point village isn't very good, LaDuke said, "We brought in all-traditional water, and the foods that are served here, we grew them. So, we wanted to really be genuinely grateful that we have this new season, and for our water."

Becky Howard of the White Earth Band said the powwow "means healing, because of a couple of tragedies in our community. This is the best time for it — the spring equinox — also a time for healing."

Among those tragedies were the March 18 deaths of Emma LaRoque and her two children in an apparent murder-suicide, and the March 17 death of White Earth Tribal Chairman Terry Tibbetts following a long illness.

White Earth Band member Mike Fairbanks, added that the spring powwow is an opportunity to "thank the Creator for everything he has given us — from the maple sugar to seasonal changes." 

For full article, go to: DLOnline

Source, image(s), credits & more: DLOnline | Robin Fish