Let’s Get Cultural

This weekend one of the local First Nations reserves hosted a powwow and it was open to everyone.  I’m always game for some culture so it was a no-brainer to accept an invitation to check it out.  It was a small gathering with representatives from the local reserves, a few from across the border in the US and some from further north in Ontario.  The event started with the Grand Entry which was basically a sacred parade.  Everyone was instructed to remove their hats – unless said hat contained an eagle feather.  I had neither a hat nor an eagle feather so I just stood.  For quite a long time.  Spectators sat on bleachers in a large circle with another smaller circle in the middle containing the singers and drummers.  The participants walked/danced around the circle as they were introduced.  The people ranged from plain clothes to intricate and beautiful costumes.  The dances were mesmerizing – keeping a beat to an unfamiliar but soothing beat.

I apologize for the quality of the photos but this is a blackberry and I wasn’t sure when I could take photos.  

Note young guy with brown shirt and feathers – sweet dancer.
Tiny Tots.

After a few dances we took a break to try out the local cuisine.  First up:  Indian Tacos.  No, I did not name them.  It is basically bannock or fry bread covered with taco-type toppings.  Definitely tasty.

Next came dessert:  bread with blueberries baked inside, smothered with strawberry sauce and, a little overkill, smothered yet again in whipped cream.  Delish.

Speaking of culture, so much was happening that went way over my head.  At one point a large group paraded around the circle led by a teenage girl in satiny dress.  When the song ended she was welcomed (although, to an outsider like me, it was not obvious to what she was being welcomed).  The community approached her for hugs and congratulations then she and her mother took a bowl of strawberries around to the other members of the community and offered one to each.

We did some browsing and then settled in for the last dance – Tiny Tots!  Any child under 6 in regalia was invited to dance and dance they did.  And regalia they wore.

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