Patrick Mitsuing says time slowed down the first time he saw fancy dancing at a powwow.
“I didn’t know what that was but there was something about that drum beat, something about the colours and the spinning. I remember as a little kid I pointed and said I don’t know what that is or what they’re doing but one day, I’m going to do that dance,” says Mitsuing.
Mitsuing says he also remembers the first time he danced. It was his 13th birthday and his family was attending the powwow at Thunderchild First Nation.
His late father took him for a walk to a meet a man standing at his car who popped open the big trunk on his vehicle and pulled out a purple, fancy dance outfit.
“My jaw literally dropped to the ground,” says Mistuing on the latest episode of Face to Face.
“When I finally put my gear on, I felt like Superman going into a phone booth and coming out a super hero.”
Years of practice paid off for Mitsuing who is now a champion fancy dancer.
It all recently culminated on what is perhaps the biggest stage in the world.
Mistuing, who is from Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation in Saskatchewan, recently performed at the Super Bowl LVII celebration in Arizona.
“I’ve done many shows throughout the nation and internationally and by far, Super Bowl has been one of the coolest, greatest experiences that I’ve ever been a part of and I’m not even a football fan,” says Mitsuing.
“Just to see the whole workings of it, the experiences of it, the people, the culture of football and sports and being on an international level like that was truly amazing.”
Following the Super Bowl, Mitsuing’s emails and phone were blowing up.
In recent weeks, he’s performed in Paris, France, in front of Buckingham Palace and on the London Bridge.
Mitsuing is in Europe working with the Travel Alberta to promote tourism and lift up Indigenous businesses in the province.
He says it’s an eye opening experience for the people they’re performing for “who only know about Indigenous people from Hollywood.”
“I just think we’re a beautiful people and we’ve been misinterpreted. The stereotypes that we have,” says Mitsuing. “I want to do my work so my kids and their kids don’t experience the racism that I experienced growing up and the hardships.
“I want to make it a lot easier to accept who we are and accept our culture and the relationships we have with the Crown.”
Mitsuing is also the founder and CEO of Powwow Times, which is billed as the largest online media site for Indigenous song, culture and dance.
Powwow Times has more than 200,000 subscribers on Facebook and 40,000 on YouTube.
In addition to powwow videos, the sites also provide step by step videos of how to make regalia and how to learn basic dance steps.
“We want to bring out more dancers. Dancing saved my life and gave me a really good life and blessings to me. And I want to give that to as much people as I could, especially the young Indigenous male youth out there,” says Mitsuing.