Powwow Held in Honor of Slain Siksika Man Aims to Bring Neighboring Communities Together

The powwow was held in honor of Kristian Ayoungman who was shot and killed near Strathmore, Alta. in 2019.

The town of Strathmore and Siksika Nation cohosted the first Lead by Example Powwow this weekend in Strathmore, in honor of a young indigenous man who was shot dead four years ago.

Kakato’si Kristian Ayoungman was a hockey player, golfer and champion powwow dancer. The 24-year-old was shot and killed on a rural road near Strathmore on March 17, 2019. His killers, Kody Giffen and his brother, Brandon Giffen were convicted of manslaughter.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people gathered in Strathmore to honor Ayoungman’s life. Green banners, designed with the name Ayoungman and the number 14, hung on the walls of a recreation center in Strathmore.  A life-size cutout of Ayoungman was also placed near the main stage.

Ayoungman’s mother, Melodie Ayoungman-Hunt, thought a powwow would be a way to bring together the residents of Strathmore and Siksika nation. The theme Lead By Example, was chosen in the spirit of reconciliation and the town embraced the idea.

“I’m filled with gratitude because everyone listened”, Ayoungman-Hunt said. “Everyone pulled together in every way. This town of Strathmore took the time to learn with us. They got it and they are doing it.”

Strathmore’s Mayor, Pat Fule said the council wants to do “our part to make things better for our Siksika friends and neighbors when they come into Strathmore.” He described the Powwow as a great opportunity for both communities to bond and celebrate their culture.

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Written by Monsurat

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