Delvina Kejick has been organizing weekly powwows at New Era School for the past 12 years. It’s become a regular gathering place in the community. Some come to drum or dance, others come to watch. For everyone, it’s an opportunity to share with one another and to learn about the rich history and culture of First Nations peoples.
Fellow filmmaker Colin Corneau introduced me to Delvina during one of the Wednesday evenings in the gymnasium where the gatherings take place. He had photographed the event on occasion and got to know Delvina personally. She was immediately warm and open, chatting to me about the structure of the evenings, it’s history and the value it offered to children, their families and the entire community. I knew Delvina would be a perfect fit for our third series of Patchworks, and I was thrilled when she agreed to do the film.
“I see a lot of our youth and our kids just blossom in the evenings. And they blossom in the community more and more.”
I learned a lot from Delvina in the short period of time which we filmed the piece: the regalia, the types of songs and dances and the teachings behind them. When it came to titling the film, I wanted to refer to Delvina as a leader, because to me, that’s exactly what I think she is. How many other people can bring energy and passion to organizing a weekly event after more than a decade?
But Delvina insisted she be called a coordinator. She sees these evenings as a community effort where everyone places a role.
“I think what I hope for everybody is that everybody just builds a deeper relationship with each other and a deeper respect for differences for some of the sameness and that we recognize also with Indigenous and Aboriginal people that there is a culture that has been vibrant for a very, very long time. And the more respect and knowledge that you get about that is in the midst of relationship. It’s always in the midst of relationship.”