Purpose of the Video Documentary:
The purpose of the video will be to document some of the history surrounding the creation of the Lyons Dance Team, which can be used for research and public education.
Richard Lyons grew up near Fort Francis on the Couchiching Reserve. It was here, as a youth, that he witnessed the cultural tradition of Powwow dancing. In those days many forms of aboriginal culture were suppressed by the dominant culture which meant that many of these traditions, including Powwows, were performed out of public sight. Eventually, with the encouragement and support of his family, Richard decided that Powwow dancing and other traditions needed to be resurrected in public to provide support for young people who were growing up with little traditional cultural identity. For this reason, Richard formed the Lyons Dance Team in 1969 to display the sacred drum, the songs, the dances and the Powwow regalia of his people.
From this small beginning the Lyons Dance Team not only brought this tradition back to many of the First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario, but it also helped to educate the non-native community on the importance of these traditions to his people.
Today, the Powwow plays a major role in the cultural identity of the First Nations peoples throughout Northwestern Ontario and indeed in other areas in the country. Thanks to the initiative of Richard Lyons and his family going to a Powwow is a major public event enjoyed by folks of all ages and by other cultures who are always welcome to join in the dance. Richard was given the Governor General’s Award and Lakehead University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution not only to his people but to all of us in Northwestern Ontario.
The format will consist of several interviews of those who were involved at the beginning of the creation of the Lyons Dance Team. There will be an emphasis on the personal effect it had on them as young people becoming new dancers and drummers in a cultural revival. Added content will be relevant historical photos and footage of Powwows if available.
The video produced by Boozhoo TV will be between 10 to 15 minutes for viewing but the full interviews will be kept for further historical and research purposes. Elder Marlene Pierre and Beverly Sabourin will be guiding the project as well.
Any donations received over the needs of the film production will be added to the Thunder Bay Museum’s internally restricted funds for Indigenous youth education.