There are tons of headaches when organizing something as big as the Pow Wow.
There’s food and water to find, dancers and drummers to register and coordinate, vendors to verify and ensure have taken their safety course, and many many volunteers to find for important jobs.
But it’s all worth it for Lita Isaac and Marilyn Jacques – two coordinators who have been helping since the very first Pow Wow, 23 years ago.
The goal is simple – make people feel safe and welcomed.
Jacques and Isaac hope everyone will leave with something, whether a gift or just a positive experience.
“Even a free coffee makes you feel good,” said Isaac.
They can both talk at length about plans to make people feel welcome and appreciated.
From children to elders, to dancers and strangers – no one is forgotten.
“Friday night is for the elders,” said Isaac. “Saturday night is for the dancers and the drummers.”
It all starts with a sacred fire Thursday morning. Friday is the Wellness Fair, and there’s music that night.
Saturday starts with a big breakfast under the tent, before Grand Entry at noon. The dancing and drumming continues that night, after a traditional feast.
Sunday morning everything is cooked, so that campers waking up late still have something to eat.
For Isaac and Jacques it’s automatic to help make the Pow Wow happen.
“I just call it my medicine,” said Jacques.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Isaac. “In fact, there’s times when I forget to go home.”
Seeing anyone happy and comfortable is reward enough for the organizers. But it’s extra satisfying when they see kids involved. They’re drawn to it, they say. They’re guaranteed to be around, especially when the tent arrives.
“They’re feeling part of this,” said Isaac, proudly.