Pictou Landing First Nations celebrates

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Rain did not dampen the enthusiasm for the 26th annual Pictou Landing Mawiomi.

The event continued on with the celebration of the First Nations culture and dance. It was held outside on Saturday and inside on Sunday due to the muddy grounds that the Mawiomi usually takes place on.

Each year as part of the celebrations, the pow wow committee chooses a group or person to honour. Last year, the committee chose to honour elders but this year the focus was on the youth of the community.

“A lot of our youth groups are important here,” said Haley Bernard, who is involved with organizing the event. “They’re important because they are the next generation in our community.”

During the opening ceremonies, the impact of the youth on the community was evident with a large portion of the dancers taking part, as well as a couple of the drumming groups being in the younger age group.

Bernard shared that the traditional purpose of the Mawiomi is to bring communities together to share culture and tradition with others. Anyone who has never been to a celebration like this before may not recognize some of the regalia or dances that are displayed. Bernard shared a bit about these and what some of them mean.

She said during the opening ceremonies, staff carriers lead the way, each with a decorated staff usually topped with an eagle’s head. Before anything can begin, however, grass dancers are the first to dance in the area with the purpose of stomping down the grass for gatherings and celebrations for the rest of the community. Jingle dresses and Jingle dress dancing are another type of regalia with significance as they are known as a healing dress. Some of the other regalia includes fancy shawls as well as men’s and women’s traditional regalia.

The celebration was welcomed by a large crowd from Pictou County and beyond.

“We like that more and more people come,” said Bernard.

Dancers follow the staff carriers during the opening ceremonies on Saturday. (Brimicombe photo)

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