The 14th annual Spirit of the Peace Pow Wow is set for this weekend, with up to 500 dancers and drummers from Canada and the United States expected to take part.
The first grand entry takes place at the Taylor arena on Friday starting at 7 p.m.
"It's really exciting for us, we put a lot of blood sweat and tears in making this possible for the communities and this region," said Connie Greyeyes, one of the organizers. "We have so many gracious sponsors, it's becoming easier for us to host this event."
The pow wow takes place all weekend, and is open and free to all. The event is drug and alcohol free.
This year, jingle dancers will gather to dance for the families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the region and across Canada. It follows on the release this week of the final report of the national inquiry that examined the causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The report concluded that colonial violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls, LGBTQ and two-spirit people has become embedded in everyday life, resulting in many Indigenous people becoming accustomed to violence.
It also follows on the heals of local news this week when Leon Wokeley pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Pamela Napoleon in 2014, ending what was expected to be a lengthy trial.
"It's a healing dance, it was created specifically to heal," Greyeyes said. "It's going to be very special."
The pow wow's outgoing princesses will also host their own special at this year's pow wow on Saturday and Sunday. Boys grass dancers will also be competing for prize money and jackets.
"The Peace country is unique, it's made up of Dane-zaa and Cree people," Greyeyes said.
"It's important to bring all aspects of our cultures together; whether they're different, they're still the same. We celebrate our families, we celebrate our ceremonies.
"That's the beautiful thing about it — it's welcoming to all."
The pow wow begins at 7 p.m. at the Taylor Arena with the grand entry. There will be a grand entry at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and again at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
— with file from the Canadian Press
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