Saturday, June 26, 2010

Native Pride

Last night I went downtown to the Halifax Commons where a huge celebration of Aboriginal culture is taking place over the next few days. It is a Mawiomi-Powwow. I was tired after a busy day and was half thinking I wouldn't go BUT I am so glad I did!

The festival is Grand Chief Membertou 400 Last night Buffy Saint Marie gave a free concert. She's still a force to be reckoned with. There were lots of people out and about, it was a gorgeous evening with the setting sun as backdrop.

This was inside one of the teepees looking up to the sky.

Wonderful to see such beautiful costumes and pride in culture. I was enthralled. There were displays and talks and dancing and food sampling.

I chatted to these two guys for quite a while. The man on the right is Gary Knockwood from Indian Brook First Nation, N.S. He is also a member of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council which is considered to be the traditional (and original) government of the Mi'kmaw people and on the left, the chap is from Newfoundland.

I wish I had asked the man on the left his name..... he had one of the most extraordinary carved pieces of wood I've ever seen. It is a dancing stick, talking stick, prayer stick, medicine stick, holding special magic and meaning to the maker. It was made from one of the most difficult wood you can carve, full of knots and twists. A cluster of trees that grow together to support each other. (the symbolism starts with the choice of wood) You can see where an eagle feather has been inlaid into one of the knots. There were carved wolves heads, a sea turtle, native faces, it was topped with fish teeth, stylized hooks, had beads and tassels and a gorgeous eagle feather was tied to it.

Absolutely beautiful and very special.

Today there are dancing and drumming competitions, more music, lots to see and do and Mi’kmaq cuisine sampling, Mini venison burgers with blueberry preserve and crispy fried onions, Nova Scotia mussels steamed and drizzled with cider vinegar and nut oil, Wild mushroom caps stuffed with smoked salmon and mixed nuts. Concert by Shane Yellowbird tonight. Well worth a visit!


Tvor said...

oh crap. i was going to go today but i don't trust the weather and i won't get there tomorrow i don't think. Crap. I looked wonderful!

Gill said...

So sorry I missed it!!!!
Great snaps you took Shelagh. I'm glad you went too.
I love the jingle dress dance, each jingle is attached over 365 days and each is infused with when the dancers move the sound of the jingle hits the people around thereby blessing them.
Love all the First Nation traditions and heritage. So worth preserving!!!


Eco Yogini said...

I also thought it was beautiful and moving. Acadian culture and heritage is so closely tied to the Mi'kmaq.

Beautiful photos!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Looks like great fun! I went to a pow wow once in Manitoba and Buffy Ste. Marie was the star attraction there too! She gets around! I love her music. And Shane Yellowbird is the pride of Hobbema, Alberta and just an all-around nice guy from the sounds of things.

Suzie Ridler said...

Beautifully photographed Shelagh, you really captured the event perfectly and I wish I had been able to go.

hatjunkie said...

Your pictures are so beautiful. so great to know there are such wonderful events so close to home. Now to just get out of Lunenburg every once in a while.

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Beautiful photographs! I want a dancing stick! Amazing culture! May these traditions continue, and may we all respect and learn from the First Nation People(s) Love the idea of jingling-prayer/thanking all day. Remarkable color!

mgoogoo said...

I don't know the guy on the left in one of your photos but the guy on the right sporting the Native Pride ballcap is my cousin Gary Knockwood from Indian Brook First Nation, N.S. He is also a member of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council which is considered to be the traditional (and original) government of the Mi'kmaw people.

aliceinparis said...

Thanks mgoogoo, I've added that info to my post:)

Ronnie said...

Thanks for this. Beautiful and interesting. Glad you had fun.

Heather said...

Love the photos, Shelagh. Gorgeous, as usual!