Powwow celebrates 25th anniversary

Community

This year’s Powwow season kicked off in grand style with the 25th Annual Pictou Landing First Nations Powwow.

For Chief Andrea Paul, the notion of the powwow entering its silver anniversary was not lost on the community.

“I think they’re pretty excited,” Paul said of the milestone. “You can see by the crowd.”

While last year’s festivities were held in the nearby gym due to rain, during the first half of the weekend this year’s powwow saw the event return to its usual place, outdoors at the ball field – under a bright sunny sky and teased by a light, salty breeze. This also appeared to register with the crowd.

“They love it outdoors,” said  Paul. “The gym is too small; you still enjoy it but everybody’s hot and it’s crowded and the kids don’t get to run around and enjoy it.”

As many as 100 dancers took part in the powwow throughout Saturday and Paul gave a cautious estimate that about a quarter of those taking part were from Pictou Landing; most, if not all, were from the Mi’kmaq nation.

Red serge wearing representatives from the RCMP, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as Pictou East MLA Tim Houston and Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane joined dancers during the traditional Grand Entry.

Chief Paul said for her, one of the “big things” to happen this year was the involvement of Haley Bernard, one of the newer members of the band council.

“She taught, I don’t know how many girls, how to jingle dance and made them their dresses,” Paul said. “Every day after work she was sewing and making jingle dresses. She’s also one of our councillors, very committed to working with the youth.”

Paul said jingle dresses, as well as other forms of regalia, are an expression of the dancer’s individuality leading to each garment being unique in terms of colour, patterns and style.

“Whatever you want on your (jingle) dress,” Paul said, “because it’s personal for you.”

As in previous years, the Pictou Landing powwow is the first of the powwow season- powwows will take place from here on out every weekend until the end of summer in communities across the Atlantic provinces.

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