By Judy Bird

powwow announcers

The powwow announcer’s booth is always a lively place especially with announcers like Mike Pinay (right) and Howie Thompson (middle) cracking jokes and keeping things moving along.

The warm weather is here, the school year is almost over, and you know what that means: it’s time to hit the powwow trail!

Catching up with family, old friends and making new ones are all part of the fun. For those working the powwow, it also means long days of making sure that everything moves along as scheduled.

“It’s always an honour to be asked to be arena director,” said Glenn Pelletier. He’s a powwow dancer and has been working as an arena director for about five years.

Some of his duties as arena director include finding dancers to carry in the Eagle Staff and the flags, giving tobacco to dancers, and finding judges for the dance competitions, to name a few. He said one of the challenges of being an arena director is finding judges, and trying to mix things up for the competition powwows so it’s judged fairly, and so that everyone has a fair chance to dance and be judged.

“Today we have so many champion dancers in Saskatchewan, and we get visitors from the (Unites) States, and Alberta, Manitoba. We are just trying to be fair to everybody,” said Pelletier.

The arena directors also keep things running smoothly inside the arbor.

“The young ones and adults come up to us, and their number one question is, are we excused? We have junior and team categories and Tiny Tots in the afternoon but we do a round of intertribals first before we excuse the adult dancers,” he said.

summer storm

You can’t get through a powwow season without running into Mother Nature.

“Sometimes we get caught up in our work and forget, so it’s nice to have our dancers come and remind us. They’re out there in full regalia and sometimes it’s hot and they want to get undressed and enjoy the whole afternoon because they have the whole evening of staying dressed and being ready for whatever comes up,” he added.

Of course, there is also humour.

Pelletier recalled one humourous instance when he was working as arena director at the Sakimay First Nation powwow.

“I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and it was really hot out. I have two tattoos on my leg, one tattoo is a dream catcher with three feathers hanging down and it says ‘Mom’ on it and on the other one, it’s a Chinese symbol. Howie Thompson was announcing, and he said ‘you know our arena director there, Glenn Pelletier, he has that Chinese symbol on his left leg and I was looking at it and I Googled it and I found out what it meant’,” says Pelletier. “I was standing close to him, he was saying this over the mic, and I said, ‘it means honour,’ and he said, ‘I don’t think so. When I googled it, it meant left hairy leg’. He got everybody going there,” said Pelletier.

Check out dates for powwows and other events on our Community Events page.



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