‘You feel welcomed’: Indigenous dancers connect at Edmonton powwow

Darrell Brertton’s been a fancy dancer his whole life.

Brertton, from Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, competed in the traditional dance category at the National Indigenous Cultural Expo Friday at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

The 21-year-old is one of 2,500 expected performers at the powwow. Brertton said it’s one of the biggest powwows he’s ever seen in Canada.

Darrell Brertton says the powwow is one of the biggest he’s seen in Canada. (Kyle Muzyka/CBC)

“It’s a pretty spectacular event because there’s so many tribes that we haven’t seen before,” Brertton said.

“It’s amazing. It’s good energy.”

Around 10,000 people were expected for the event Friday. Festivities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit were scheduled, including dances, workshops and hand games.

Some dancers came from the United States, Brertton said, including some who may have been exposed to Inuit and Métis cultures for the first time.

“There’s a lot of people here who travelled far and wide [to get here],” he said. “I bet you there is a lot of States dancers that haven’t heard of Inuit dancers.”

More connected

For Elijah Halfe, the spotlight of fancy dancing doesn’t scare him like it used to.

The 14-year-old has been dancing for a decade — and it hasn’t always been easy for him. “When I was younger, I was really shy,” Halfe said. but now I can walk out there and dance.”

Elijah Halfe, 14, has fancy danced for a decade. (Kyle Muzyka/CBC)

Halfe dances with many of his friends, some of whom he dances against in the same category.

He doesn’t let it affect their friendship, though.

“It doesn’t really change our friendship or anything. It just makes us more close in the end,” Halfe said.

Both Halfe and Brertton said the powwows make them feel connected — to themselves, their loved ones and their culture.

“It provides a lot of opportunity to make a lot of memories,” Brertton said.

“It kind of makes you feel closer with yourself and everyone else,” Halfe said. “You don’t feel lonely. Everyone’s around you. You feel welcomed.”

The National Indigenous Cultural Expo continues through the weekend.

The powwow continues through the weekend. (Kyle Muzyka/CBC)

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-09-28 21:30:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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