Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

How Socially Distanced Powwows are Keeping the People Dancing


With more than 70,000 members, the Quarantine Dance Specials 2020 Facebook group has virtually filled the void left by powwow cancellations. The group features some stand-alone videos of dancers, but it mostly broadcasts multi-round dance competitions in selected categories. (Facebook Screenshot)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba-Donning her regalia for the first time since January, Pearl Henry (Ojibwe) prepared to participate virtually in the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow's northern women's traditional dance special.

"I was excited as I did my hair to get ready," Henry said. "I seriously felt like I was hurrying to get ready for grand entry. Just like old times."

"Manito Ahbee has always been one of my favorite powwows, and knowing it was cancelled was really heartbreaking," Henry said. "It has been very special to me because it's very close and central and I've always participated in it. I really felt a need to participate in this particular one."

Instead of joining her dancing sisters at the powwow site in Winnipeg, she took to her front yard to dance alone, with an audience of three: Henry's daughter recording the dance on her mother's iPhone, and two more of Henry's children. There was also an unwelcome contingent of mosquitoes in attendance, Henry said.


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