Sunday, 9 June 2019

Spirit of the Drum Pow Wow – Smiths Falls

I love living where we live. JB went into town for his morning walk. There are no bugs in town, you see. Afterwards, he went to the Perth market, with containers, and brought home some wonderfully spicy authentic Korean food, prepared by immigrants who make Canada richer. Satiated, we went to the pow wow in nearby Smiths Falls.

It is an amazing celebration of culture, values and traditions. The Mohawks of Akwesasne First Nation and  Pikwàkanagàn  First Nation conducted the Pow Wow. It was held in Smiths Falls, on Duck Island.

I am always awed by the regalia. Beautiful, colourful: grass dancers, jingle dancers, shawl dancers...

This reminded me of the poem by Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman. I won't copy it all here, as it is under copyright law, but it reads, in part...

It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.  

Then, there are the warrior dudes!

This young woman was instrumental in getting the pow wow back to Smiths Falls. She is a beautiful representative for her traditional culture, which she loves, and loves to share with us white folks. She was tireless, as person after person asked to take photos with her. I shook her hand, and thanked her. As I did so, another participant heard me, and while she denied being so, he said she was the linchpin of this pow wow.

This is the hoop dancer, on the left, and the chicken dancer, in turquoise. Both dancers were amazing. You can see the animals that they mimic in their dancing.

A birch bark canoe.

These were carvings. Also, furs for sale, fox, rabbit, and the like. Carved bone jewelry, including a beaver jaw, packets of smudging materials, sage, and so on.

These are the town of Smiths Falls swans, meant to keep the Canada geese away! One of them approached the smudging area (no photos permitted), and left a feather. I held JB's drink, while he smudged beside the teepee. The smell of the sage permeated the island. The beat of the drum touched my heart. The sound of the bells lifted my spirits.

The hoop dancer, you could see how she recreated the movements of a butterfly, and bird.

These were the kids ages 12 and under, in regalia. They were amazing. Everyone just sighed and smiled. They are so joyful. I hope the next 150 years, following white colonization, will be better.
The educational event is being organized by Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI), as well as their Indigenous partners, as an effort to raise awareness about Indigenous culture and to inspire reconciliation.
A highlight of the event will be the many Indigenous dancers who will perform. The school is hosting its annual Education Gallery Walk at the powwow, displaying student research projects featuring profiles of murdered and missing Indigenous women. There will be workshops by Elders and Knowledge Keepers on traditional medicine, wampum belts and treaty history, and birch bark canoe construction. The Thunder Cloud Drum Group will also present at the two-day event. Admission is free.

The reporter took several photos of this warrior. He stayed in character while the man took several photos. The reporter took his name and information.

Food, wisdom, smudging ceremonies, drumming, all wonderful. If you've never been to a pow wow, you should go! There were artifacts and museum archeological exhibits of First Nations artifacts found along the Rideau River.

This cool young man was in charge of parking, boldy turning away big trucks trying to park here. I asked if I could take his photo. They had a section for the invited participants, as well as the elders. Imagine, a society who respects their elders!

Duck Island is a wonderful location. It would have been an obvious meeting place for trading back in the day before the white settlers invaded the Anishinaabe territory.
"Anishinaabe" referring to the shared culture and related languages of the Algonquian tribes of the Great Lakes area. Tribes that refer to themselves as Anishinaabe include the Ojibway, Algonquin, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Saulteaux, Nipissing, and Mississauga.

Anishinaabe-Anishinini Distribution Map.svg
Homelands of Anishinaabe and Anishinini, 
ca. 1800

At 41 seconds in, you can see the young woman take three young kids into the circle to dance. She patiently taught them, while their mother (I assume!) photographed them. She is an amazing ambassador for her culture.

1 Spirit of the Drum from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

They are joyful!
2 Spirit of the Drum young dancers from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

In this video, while I began with the adult dancer, you can see the young ones learning from her.
3 Spirit of the Drum Hoop Dancers from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Smiths Falls swans from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Such a delightful, joyful post! YAM xx

Unknown said...

Gorgeous photos Jennifer! The colour and the tradition and the history behind Pow Wow is so fascinating and beautiful.

Anvilcloud said...

Who knew?! Looks like a wonderful event.

Nancy J said...

Traditions that should be passed on to the following generations, a beautiful setting for all the ceremonies. I admit, I had to Google " smudging" to know what happens. Hope your weather stays fine, we have a warm morning here, a little cloud, but still dark at nearly 5 a.m. All is well.

Rain said...

The "cool young man" seems to enjoy having his photo taken lol! ;) I remember going to the Pow Wow's just north of Montreal when I was a lot younger. They're a bit of a drive now, haven't been to one in ages. They were always so fun and I loved seeing the culture! In fact, I adopted the sage smudge into my life to remove negativity when needed. :)

DUTA said...

Very colorful event!

Out To Pasture said...

So glad you and your camera were there. Wish I had been as well. In spirit, I was dancing along.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Thanks for the videos! I love the Indian graceful and their clothing is gorgeous. I lived on the Navajo Indian Reservation for over 3 years back when my kids were little. We were there for a job and it was very educational. My boys loved getting to know the kids that lived there and still like to travel back there when they can. Enjoy your afternoon! Hugs!

William Kendall said...

I've seen this done here. It's fascinating.

Lowcarb team member said...

What a wonderful, and colourful event.
I did enjoy seeing your photographs.

All the best Jan

Red said...

Very colorful with lots of motion.

Olga said...

Wonderful post.
I went to a series of lectures about the Seminole Wars in Florida this pst winter. Some of our history is so very sad and troubling. I think it is important to learn about and appreciate different cultures. Like religions that seem to be at the core about being kind to one another, there are more similarities than real differences in how people live and love.

Christine said...

lovely event so lively and colourful.

Powell River Books said...

A very colourful event. We had a march here in Powell River this last week for murdered and missing indigenous women and children. - Margy

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

This would be wonderful to see and hear.