Six Forces of Culture Six Forces of Culture: My Chosen Event Prince George’s Annual Traditional POW Wow is an event put on by the Prince George Friendship Centre, it takes place at the Carrie Jane Gray Park. It is rich in energy and historical popular culture. Hosting the powwow is a way of ensuring the rich heritage of the aboriginal people is preserved. The word Pow Wow, or pau wau, means a gathering of people coming together to trade. Explorers misinterpreted the ceremony of medicine men dancing, thinking all natives gathered to sing and dance in this manner.
The modern day Pow Wow evolved from the Grass Dance Societies that formed during the early 1800’s. The dances were an opportunity for the warriors to reenact their brave deeds for all the members of the tribe to witness. The growth of reservations gave rise to the modern Pow Wow. This was a time of transition for Native peoples across North America. Native customs and religions were outlawed. The Grass Dance was one of the few celebrations that were allowed into this new era. The Grass Dance became an opportunity to maintain some of the earlier tribal customs that were vanishing.
As other communities and tribes were invited to these celebrations, rights of ownership of sacred items necessary to the Grass Dance were transferred from one band to the other Intertribalism emerged with sharing songs and dances. Today’s Pow Wows offer an updated unique, rich cultural and heritage type experience attracting travelling folk visiting the area. It also allows members of different bands an opportunity to gather together to share and celebrate in their Native American heritage through dancing, music, drum circles, food, games, art exhibits and songs such as the Owl Dance Song.
Prince George’s First Nations are known as the Carrier Sekani First Nations people speaking the traditional Dakelh language. Dressed in their exquisite traditional attire they compete in many dances to rhythmic drumming. The Men and boys will compete in the Men’s Fancy Dance and grass dances, a tradition that comes from the time when dancers would dance to flatten the grass at a gathering site. Women and girls will compete in jingle dances and fancy shawl dances also known as the Butterfly Dance.
A golden age dance features elder dancers over the age of 50, and a tiny tots dance gives the little ones a chance to show their cultural spirit. The powwow brings in spectators from various places around the globe their teachings of native American ways to native and non native onlookers through their original interpretive dance, songs, drumming, displays of artworks, carvings and traditional native American foods such as bannock (deep-fried bread), and locally caught and smoked salmon have provided much useful information to help aid in educational teachings.
The First Nation people have cultures spanning thousands of years. Long before being forced into government socialization programs the First Nations lived much different than they do now. They were self-sustaining; hunting and fishing, building their shelters, preparing medicines and teaching the native languages to their people. It has only been since the late 60’s and early 70s that Aboriginal people have been able to once again speak freely, openly and without restriction as well as practice their traditional healing methods in their reserves. McCormick and Wong, 2005) This is why continuing the Pow Wow legacy is so important in this culture. As a community they hosted a series of these gatherings, this has brought back much of the traditional culture, traditional stories and songs are the elders way of passing on to their youth. A Pow Wow is set up as a series of large circles. The center circle is the dance arena, outside of that is a circle consisting of the MC’s table, drum groups, and sitting areas for dancers and their families.
At outdoor Pow Wows the drummers and dancers circle is often covered by either a committee built arbor, or each group will provide their own sunshade. Beyond these two circles for participants is often an area for spectators outside of all are several rings of vendor’s booths. When referring to the Six Forces of Culture that affect or influence events the powwow incorporates heavily on the historical aspects, the trials and tribulations the culture faced being government socialized, losing their cultural languages, having to abide by a whole new governing law that llocated power to the government no longer to the elders. These types of events are also meant to provide an alleyway for effective communication with other native and non-native parties creating effective communication and understanding of the culture that surrounds us. In our current times we are surrounded by First Nation historical culture, carvings, totem poles, statues, artwork ect. Prior to Europeans arriving in what is now known as Canada, First Nation people did not have a brewing tradition and had no experience with alcohol.
As the Fur Trade developed, alcohol was given as a gift as well as a trade item at trading posts (Waldram, Herring, Young, 2000). Traders used alcohol, specifically distilled hard liquors to lure trappers away from rival company posts. As Hamer and Steinbring (1980) have noted, ‘Alcohol was used as an inducement to participate, as a medium of exchange, and as a standard of competitive access’. I only mention this as the first nation have a proven problem with alcohol and drug consumption, There is an urgent and visible nature of alcohol and drug abuse among First Nations people and Inuit (http://www. c-sc. gc. ca/fniah-spnia/substan/ads/nnadap-pnlaada-eng. php) It is this historical reason all Pow Wows have a strict no alcohol or drug rule. Ecological influence for Pow wows and the people have been heavily affected they are aware that our surroundings have an undeniable impact on our lives. First Nations were raised to live off the land to use every resource they believe they are no more or less important than the entity they interact with.
Current times make it difficult for the younger generations to learn this surrounded by pavement and buildings how does one go about teaching respect for trees, nature, animals, grass? Hosting modern powwows are a way of going back to the traditional living and teachings were environmental and other ecological changes impacted their events, and their sustainability. They know the importance of culture and the value of enhancing or maintaining ecological integrity amongst the people; their events have evolved to suit the current conditions.
Adjustments have been made to account for the loss of some of the ecological changes in traditional event locations, environment for example, Trees have been removed for the sake of Agricultural use, Urbanization, and logging/paper production and economy. Much of the bare land has been paved over and the water tables altered. The First Nations believe that everything that impacts their livelihood is of equality. They were taught that they are no more or less important than the entity with which they interact.
Respecting the environment to which they cohabitate. Powwows are meant to bring alike people together with similar gene, thought, and teaching patterns, they all have inherited cultural and biological affiliations. They also have a distinct non-verbal communication through their songs, dances and languages that also suggests that Interpersonal Communication Patterns play a huge key role in having a successful event and getting their historical messages across.
I believe an event such as this is figured for the community bringing common people together and teaching the others around them cultural respect. Canada is a country strong in aboriginal roots so I do believe it also is geared nationally and attracts educators, history buffs, ancestral chiefs around the country to our province to see how each specific group of first nation tell the historical story. References McCormick, R. and Wong, P. T. P. (2005). Adjustment and Coping In Wong, P. T.
P. , Wong, L. C. J. and Lonner, W. J. (2005). Aboriginal People in Handbook of Multicultural Perspectives On Stress and Coping, Springer Publishing. Waldram, J. B. , Herring, D. A. and Young, T. K. 2000. Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural, and Epidemiological Perspectives, University of Toronto Press. Tourism B. C. Website, http://www. hellobc. com/enCA/SightsActivitiesEvents/FestivalsEvents/FestivalsEvents/Prince-George. htm Health Canada Website, http://www. hc-sc. gc. a/fniah-spnia/substan/ads/nnadap-pnlaada-eng. php Prince George Native Friendship Centre (http://www. pgnfc. com/) The University of Calgary, 2000 http://www. ucalgary. ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations/civilisations. html http://www. ucalgary. ca/applied_history/tutor/firstnations/coast. html Francis, Daniel. 2000. Discovering first peoples and first contacts, Don Mills, Ont. : Oxford University Press. First Nations University, http://www. firstnationsuniversity. ca/default. aspx? page=301