Powwow! Ohcîwin The Origins

The Artisans

“When you dress up real nice, your spirit loves that.”

A dancer’s regalia carries meaning, respect and love. Pieces are individually created to represent and hold special significance with the dancer. Working with the Mitsuing’s, the Red Deer MAG commissioned 11 Indigenous Artisans from Western Canada and the US to collaborate on seven full dance regalia. Each
regalia on display has elements created by at least four artisans who contributed to its making.

These artisans have worked for years at their craft, learning from others, and participating in powwows. The harvesting of feathers, quills and furs was done with care and respect to the animal. Working with the Mitsuings, the artisans incorporated designs and meanings of importance to themselves in the creation of the regalia on display.

Emery-rose (le ) and family
Image courtesy of the artist

Emery-rose Assiniboine – Dakota and Plains Cree

All Cloth Work

An artist, seamstress, student and mother, Emery-rose has been designing and creating beadwork with her grandmothers since she was 12 years old. She is from the Dakota Nation of Manitoba and the Neekaneet Cree Nation of Southern Saskatchewan. She is founder of Assinboine Designs which specializes in Indigenous wear that ranges from regalia to bead work.

Morning Dove Kytwayhat – Cree
Men’s chicken dance beadwork

Morning Dove is a wife, mother and preschool teacher from Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nations, Saskatchewan. Growing up, she was raised with traditional teachings from both her maternal and paternal grandparents. Her grandparents taught her to always have good energy when making anything. In the process of creating the men’s chicken dance beadwork she hopes that the person or people who see her beadwork will always feel that good energy.

Morning Dove Kytwayhat (le ) with partner Jackson Tahuka
Image courtesy of the artist

Nita McAdam.
Image courtesy of the artist

Nita McAdam – Cree
Ladies Traditional Beadwork

From Big River First Nations in Northern Saskatchewan, beading and sewing helps Nita deal with modern stress and connects her with traditional ways. She has always loved the Plains Cree style and wants to keep the style of her lineage going on with her children and others who admire her work.

Eric Mentuck –Anishinaabe

Eric is from Waywayseecappo First Nations in Manitoba. Andrew Mecas taught Eric the time-consuming craft of bustle-making. If Eric could describe some characteristics that a future bustle-maker should have they are: patience, attention to detail, improvement, consistency, working long hours on continuous steps. Eric is an outdoor education teacher in Waywayseecappo who makes bustles for friends and family members. Eric is also a husband and father to four daughters and one son.

Eric Mentuck
Image courtesy of the artist

Curtis Miller Joe
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Curtis Miller Joe – Coast Salish

Curtis’ work in carving, painting, drum and dance displays a fierce pride informed by a deeply spiritual value system. A world-class Powwow dancer, Curtis
spends the summers competing throughout North America and the winters working with at-risk youth and as a family counselor.

Marrisa Mitsuing – Cree
Mens Fancy Beadwork,Womens Jingle Beadwork, Mens Traditional Beadwork

A second generation Indian Residential School Survivor, Marrisa’s interest in the world of art and culture blossomed a er the birth of her first child, Leland. This led her on a healing journey to become a powwow dancer, which led her to an infatuation with regalia making. She is inspired by the vast natural life surrounding her kokum’s (grandmother’s) backyard where she grew up, in a small community on Treaty 6 Territory. Marrisa’s passion is now connecting communities to Indigenous History through dance and traditional beadwork.

Marrisa currently resides in Sylvan Lake, Alberta with her husband Patrick and their four children.

Marrisa Mitsuing
Image courtesy of the artist

Yahsti Perkinskiller
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Yahsti Perkinskiller – Waccamaw, Dakota
Head Roaches

Yahsti learned traditional ways from his father. At 10 years old he was taught how to tie his own bustle; by 15 he beaded his own regalia. In 2014, he was ready to learn how to make the Wapesha (headdress) from legendary Wapehsa maker Richard Street. Now he is hoping to pass along this skill to his children.

Coralie Nepoose – Cree
Men’s grass dance beadwork

Coralie, daughter of Charity and Levi Nepoose, is Plains Cree from the Samson Cree Nation. Coralie has been a fancy dancer since the age of 11. She beads all her own beadwork as well as that of her two daughters. For Coralie, it is an honour to be asked to be a part of something so big.

Coralie Nepoose
Image courtesy of the artist

Alexandrea Pasquayak
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Alexandrea Pasquayak – Santee Dakota
Women’s Fancy Dance Beadwork and Accessories

Alexandrea began beading at the age of 12 and has been working at it through trial and error ever since. Her aunt Ursula Youngbear shared her gi of beading with Alexandrea. Her work, of small pieces to large orders of numerous dance regalia is worn with pride all over Canada and the U.S.

Marlon Weekusk – Cree

Marlon Weekusk is photographer and owner of Marmar Photography. Marlon is a Plains Cree grass dancer from Onion Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan. Marlon, also known as “Marmar”, participates in the Powwow circle and cultural events. The images and ideas captured by Marmar are a representation of how he views aspects of cultural practice and its preservation through art and imagery. The images here are some of the favorites he has captured on the Powwow Trail. “The idea of being able to do my part in preservation of culture and memories is priceless for future generations.

Marlon Weekusk
Image courtesy of the artist

Kendra Roan
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Kendra Roan – Plains/Chippewa Cree,
T’Suu T’ina and Taos Pueblo
Quilled Work

Kendra grew up in Pigeon Lake, Alberta. She finds inspiration from her family as they all create some form of art, such as singing, dancing, beading or
painting. A powwow dancer herself, this quilled breastplate is her most challenging quillwork yet.

Howard Walker is a respected master of ceremonies

Traditional powwows are typically smaller and each dancer is given an honorarium.

There are two main types of powwows: traditional and competitive. All powwows feature a grand entry, singers, dancers, drummers and spectators. Powwows also have teachings, ceremony, a feast, artisan market, food stands and people camping nearby. The event is run by a master of ceremonies who not only entertains the crowd, but keeps the event running smoothly and lets everyone know what’s going on. Some powwows also have a giveaway, where attendees are given gifts from the organizers

Competitive powwows, are larger events, that can run multiple days. Participants wear numbers as the dances are competitive and prize money can be won.

Drummers – Battle Hill Drummers from Red Pheasant First Nation, Saskatchewan.

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