WE went to a Powwow while at the Calgary Stampede.

It truly is the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” when it boasts of a powwow as a must-see attraction.

And we’re not really talking about your regular powwow meeting.

The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of culture and traditions. It celebrates history and how it keeps traditions alive through the years. It boasts of its rich cowboy traditions and culture and takes deep pride of history of the First Nations people.

I’ve never seen tipis before in my life–except those in cartoons and they looked tiny compared to the real ones.

There are three or four tipis that greet you once entering the grounds. On television, tipis look so frail (a couple of sticks tied together with cloth draped over them) but these magnificent structures towered over you with a strong presence of strength, history and beauty.

Walking down the path that led to the main camp grounds, you find 26 stunning tipis looming overhead. Once you enter the camp grounds, all tipis form a circle around the grounds and celebrate the rich history of five tribes of the First Nations people. The five tribes represent the cultures of the Piikani, Kainai, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda First Nations at the Elbow River Camp.

We got a glimpse of their culture by stepping into their tipis.

The tipis are stunning.

My boyfriend Rob (Hi, bb!) and I entered a couple of them and it was amazing to step into something so magnificent. I felt tiny once I entered the tipi (and by Canadian standards, I was pretty short to begin with). History and traditional First Nations practices were on display.

We watched a powwow–probably the best powwow there is on earth.

The powwows we know are the ones where we talk and meet up. But the First Nations peoples’ powwow brings the wow to powwow.

There’s dancing–and lots of it.

Powwows are still community meetings, but bring in the “wow” to the meeting by dancing. Powwows feel like a celebration–of bringing people together, celebrating events, or sometimes include a competition. Those who dance wear colorful regalia to match their style of dance.

Rob and I, along with other guests, had the chance of witnessing the dances of all five First Nations tribes. There were so many dances and so many beautiful dresses and breathtaking culture.

The audience got to dance, too. People from across the globe joined in on the dancing, taking part in a big circle that danced to the rhythmic beat of the First Nations people tribal music.

I caught myself smiling as I watched the dancing–a celebration of diversity and oneness all happening at once. Truly, culture brings us together.