News Local

Pikwakanagan host 30th Pow Wow

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer 
Grassdancers in traditional regalia perform in a circle prior to the Grand Entry at the 30th annual Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Pow Wow on Sunday. This year's event saw 355 dancers participate.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Grassdancers in traditional regalia perform in a circle prior to the Grand Entry at the 30th annual Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Pow Wow on Sunday. This year's event saw 355 dancers participate.

 

GOLDEN LAKE - The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan hosted their 30th annual Pow Wow, a late summer gathering that has united people and tribes but strengthened their culture and language.

Over the weekend, Algonquins from across the region, Quebec and the U.S. travelled to the First Nation for this gathering. Event organizers were thrilled with not only the large number of visitors but participants to this year's Pow Wow which numbered more than 400.

“This is a celebration of our culture,” said Jamie Sarazin, chairwoman of the Pow Wow Committee.

Derived from the Algonquin name for “First Nations,” the Pow Wow aims to gather people together to celebrate life through song, dance, ceremonies, rituals and displays of hospitality and unity. They are not meant to be a re-enactment of the past but an artistic and spiritual expression of an ever evolving culture.

On Sunday, the highlight was the grand entry ceremony which saw a procession enter a large circle around groups of drummers led by staff and flag carriers, as well as veterans and elders. The Grand Entry is a ceremony as well as the lighting of the Sacred Fire. Many people will approach the Spiritual Leader for prayers for their health or that of their family throughout the weekend.

Traditional grassdancers, dressed in colourful regalia made up of feathers, beads, silk, sequins and bells, filed in behind. A poignant moment came when elders came together to gift a feather to a member of the First Nation who will soon be deploying to Iraq as a combat engineer.

This year's Pow Wow was dedicated to the Scoop survivors of the 1960s. The Sixties Scoop refers to the practice of taking, or “scooping up,” children of Aboriginal peoples in Canada from their families for placing in foster homes or adoption beginning in the 1960s and continuing until the late 1980s. An estimated 20,000 aboriginal children were taken from their families and fostered or adopted out to primarily white middle-class families, some within Canada and some in the U.S. or Western Europe. Earlier this year, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that the federal government failed in its common law duty of care to failed to take reasonable steps to prevent thousands of on-reserve children who were placed with non-native families from losing their indigenous heritage.

SChase@postmedia.com