A sunny Saturday last weekend brought Pictou Landing First Nation Mawio’mi outdoors for a day of celebration, culture and dance. With people from as far as Quebec and New Brunswick attending, the event was thoroughly enjoyed by participants and spectators who came to see the dancing, hear drumming and admire the regalia that dancers donned.
“It seems like it’s okay,” said Haley Bernard, one of the organizers for the event about the change in venue from previous years. The Mawio’mi was held in the community’s baseball field previously and this year, because of the school construction where the field once was, it was scheduled to be held in the gym of the current school. Upon discovering the sunny and warm forecast for the day, the festivities were moved outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Although she added that she was a bit worried about parking at the venue, Bernard said it all seemed to be working out well.
The Mawio’mi is a traditional gathering that is held at the First Nation community every year. Although some may know the gathering as a pow wow, the community is taking back the traditional name for the event, Mawio’mi.
“Pow wow is more modern,” said Bernard; however, with the push to get back to their roots and share their culture and language using the name Mawio’mi is something PLFN has been promoting.
This year’s theme was ‘Honouring the Water,’ an ode to Boat Harbour or A’se’k, the body of water the community has been fighting to reclaim for years.
“It’s the last year of this fight,” said Bernard, referring to the closure of the treatment plan next January. “It was important for us to choose that because of the fight we’ve been through.” A water ceremony was also held the morning of the Mawio’mi as well to help promote this theme for the celebrations.
Along with honouring the water, there were also some special guests at this year’s celebrations who were honoured during a ceremony. Susan and Bill Palmer were called to come forward and receive a gift from the council for their generous donation of land to PLFN. The land that was given to the community sits on Indian Cross Point, a burial ground from long ago that the community has repeatedly fought to protect and secure so as to not have the graves of their elders disturbed. A special song and dancing were done in honour of the couple and members of the community lined up to shake their hands and thank them for the generous gift.