Dakota Nation’s Winterfest strengthens traditions, emboldens youth
, 2023-01-29 06:00:00,
Proudly carrying the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation eagle baton on Friday night, Donny McKay led the first Dakota Nation Winterfest Grand Entrance since 2020.
McKay, 67, has been dancing for more than 50 years. Carrying the baton is a great honor, said the traditional dancer. As she dances, McKay looks to the past and the future of the Dakota Nation with hope.
“That’s what the powwow is about. It’s a place of positive energy, a place where different tribes come together and celebrate.”
The four-day Winterfest event has become an annual tradition in Brandon, helping to bring people together to celebrate indigenous culture each January. From Thursday through Sunday, he filled the Keystone Center with traditional activities like powwow, jigging and moccasin games, combined with sports tournaments designed to help people stay active in the dead of winter.
Growing up, McKay says her grandmother instilled in her a sense of pride in the Dakota spirit and the legacy of its warriors. McKay’s badges tell the story of his ancestors and their fight for Dakota identity. He is now transmitting this passion to the next generations.
It’s been a powerful experience to see Dakota culture, language and traditions strengthened through events like Winterfest, says McKay. Help keep indigenous culture strong by bringing experiences like powwow and moccasin games to an urban center and youth.
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