World champion fancy dancer, Patrick Mitsuing, performs for culture, legacy and community on the world’s biggest stage
Patrick Mitsuing, a member of the Cree Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nations, will shine a spotlight on Indigenous culture through a series of performances leading up to and during Super Bowl LVI this Sunday. He will be the sole Indigenous dancer representing the place now known as Canada during the event’s programming. The National Football League's (NFL) decision to recognize the Indigenous land on which the games take place on, for the first time in 56 Super Bowls presents Mitsuing with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As the president of Powwow Times, the production company behind Canada’s largest competitive Powwow, and a member of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, Mitsuing is used to putting on showstopping performances for large audiences, but not at this capacity. “I couldn’t believe it, at the beginning.” explains Mitsuing, “This will be my biggest show ever. The whole venue during Monday’s Super Bowl Opening Night was packed.”
With the first performance behind him, Mitsuing is now focused on putting on a captivating welcome showcase at the State Farm Stadium for an expected turnout of 70,000 fans on Sunday.
The engagement of cultural partnerships with Indigenous communities during major events is becoming a part of a cultural shift and a sign of progress towards reconciliation. The NFL’s efforts going beyond a land acknowledgement and weaving in Indigenous storytelling during official programming shows a commitment to genuine representation. The league featuring Indigenous artwork from a local artist on this year’s tickets design and organizing entertainment performances such the one Mitsuing is taking a part of are all hopeful signs for the future.
These actions not only raise awareness of Indigenous cultures, histories and perspectives but also set an example for other mainstream organizations to build meaningful, long-term relationships with Indigenous communities.
From a societal perspective, it’s a small step in the right direction; however, for Mitsuing personally, it is a moment of great excitement for his Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation community located about 300 kilometers northwest of Saskatoon.
Capturing the attention of the youth and leaving a legacy of empowerment for the younger generation is at the forefront of his mind during this monumental accomplishment. Through his past world champion dancing travels, Mitsuing has had a goal to inspire youth to dream big and celebrate their own unique cultures through art.
“When I was young, my elders, they told me to take care of my outfit, because it will take care of me.” said Patrick, “They told me it will take me places. I could never fully wrap my mind of what that meant, until now. It took me to amazing opportunities like this. I put my heart and soul into Powwow dancing and it’s been taking care of me and my family for so long, and I just can’t believe that it’s been getting better and better.
Patrick is documenting his Super Bowl journey on the Powwow Times social channels: YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and is inviting audiences to follow along.
About Indigenous Tourism Alberta
Driven by the Indigenous Tourism Alberta Strategy 2020-2024, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) encourages and promotes authentic Indigenous tourism that showcases the unique and immersive experiences offered by its members throughout Alberta. This strategy is industry-driven, industry-lead and directed by Indigenous People. Through a unified industry voice, Indigenous Tourism Alberta focuses on creating and nurturing partnerships between associations, organizations, governments and industry leaders from across Alberta to support the stability and growth of Indigenous tourism. Further to this, ITA’s goal is to create a resilient Indigenous tourism industry that can weather future economic instability while also enhancing economic viability and further supporting Indigenous people throughout the province by sharing stories, culture and experiences with a global audience. To learn more, visit www.indigenoustourismalberta.ca.
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