It is a beautiful day, and the cliffs along the Georgian Bay are a fitting backdrop to this gathering of nations at Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario. This area can be found on old maps under the name Cape Croker. As you drive down to the Pow Wow, even the trees seem to sway towards the circular clearing, as the unusually warm air hugs all gathered like a blanket. I feel for the dancers, resplendent in beautiful regalia, giving their best in such heat. The drums beat, the voices rise, and the crowd respectfully stands in anticipation of the Grand Entry. The Pow Wow begins.
The traditional gathering of First Nations is a celebration whose direct origins are lost in time. But according to ancient legends, when the creator placed people on this land, they were assigned the task of being custodians for their mother – the Earth. Now, the modern Pow Wow has emerged from a mix of ceremonial rituals that give thanks to Creator; perpetuates the cohesiveness of the people, and fosters the self sufficiency of the community.
At this time of year, there are many Pow Wows are held in Ontario. Looking around at the visitors, you can see there are many first Nations from both sides of the border, and Nations from far and near who have come to celebrate. The great thing about Pow Wows is everyone is welcome. When intertribal dances are called, everyone is called to get up and join in. Today was special, as a Bald Eagle was seen circling the sky above the dancers. The dancers raised their own feathers to the sky in acknowledgement of this good omen.
There are vendors exhibiting and selling their skillfully made creations.
Did I mention the food? Scone dogs, Indian Tacos, Moose Stew and lots of fresh squeezed strawberry juice and lemonade to wash it down.
There are in fact two kinds of pow wow, the traditional and the competition. The traditional is the smaller of the two Dancers perform for an honorarium such as food or gifts.
Here are some rules to remember at a Pow Wow: No alcohol. No dogs. And ask permission before you take pictures. People in regalia, are happy to be captured at their finest in clothes which can only be described as beautiful works of art.
Experience a Pow Wow near you. Listings can be found on line: Here