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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Putting the WOW in pow wows in Ontario

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 16/14

   By Jim Fox

   Prepare to be wowed with the dancing, drumming and colourful pageantry of an aboriginal pow wow.
   These gatherings of native people to honour their customs and spiritual leaders welcome the public to join in and enjoy the fellowship while learning more about ancient rituals and beliefs.
Dancers add colourful pageantry to Chippewas of Rama First Nation Pow Wow in Rama. (Andrea Hamlin Photography/Ontario’s Lake Country)
   Catch the action at the Chippewas of Rama First Nation Pow Wow in Rama and the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow in Hagersville, both next weekend (Aug. 23 and 24).
   There’s also the Traditional Pow Wow and Harvest Festival at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in London on Sept. 13 and 14.

   Song and dance
   For someone attending a pow wow for the first time, Raven Noganosh of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, near Orillia, said this is a celebration of First Nation culture.
   “You will be excited to witness amazing talents from all over Turtle Island/North America,” she said.
   Participants of all ages from will celebrate traditional song and dance competitively while clothed in “beautifully coloured regalia.”
Participants celebrate traditional song and dance while wearing “beautifully coloured regalia” at the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering. (Photos by Maria Fortunato)

   Visitors will see authentic aboriginal craft booths selling original art work, carvings, beadwork and much more while being able to enjoy “the best of our traditional foods,” Noganosh said.
   The event will host competitive hand drum competitions and a team dance competition.
   An important part of Rama’s pow wow is the acknowledgement of the veterans as heroes that are an essential part of our community,” said Chief Sharon Stinson Henry.
   The sound of the drums is said to have realism and mystery that seems to gather people.
   “When that ancient drum starts to play, it opens up something in you and your mind and your heart that you can’t stop . . . and it’s impossible not to be moved by the aura of the pow wow,” said Sherry Lawson, one of the organizers.
   “The drumming, the chanting, the dancing and the colourful regalia are all a reflection of who the dancers are,” she added.
   Beyond the majesty of the head dancers and the Grand Entry, competitions, arts, craft and food vendors, visitors will witness the way aboriginal people celebrate life and tell their stories through music and movement.
   It takes place Aug. 23 and 24 at the Seniors Complex gazebo area at 5884 Rama Rd., across from Casino Rama.
Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering. (Photos by Maria Fortunato)
   The event “showcases the native culture we have in our region,” said Jennifer Whitley of Ontario’s Lake Country tourism area.
   She urges visitors to stay for the weekend to enjoy the pow wow along with recreational activities, shopping and dining throughout the area.
   The Grand Entry is at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 but free for seniors, veterans and children younger than 12. Details: ramafirstnation.ca/powwow; 1-866-854-2121; OntariosLakeCountry.com 

   Let there be drums
   Organizers are asking visitors to bring their hand drums to the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering.
   It takes place on Aug. 23 and 24 on the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation near Hagersville, southeast of Brantford.
   The event is billed as “colourful, vibrant and educational” attracting visitors from across Canada and the U.S.
   There are the traditional pow wow events including singing, drumming and a “variety of traditional dances,” food and craft vendors.
   The Grand Entry on the Saturday is at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m. with closing ceremonies at 4 p.m.
   Admission costs $5 daily, with ages six and younger no charge, along with free parking.  It’s at 1789 First Line Rd. (Mississauga Road) and New Credit Road. Details: newcreditpowwow.com; (905) 768-5686

   Old traditions
   London’s Museum of Ontario Archaeology invites the public to “experience a traditional aboriginal pow wow.”
   The Museum of Ontario Archaeology features participants in traditional aboriginal pow wow attire.
   The sixth annual Traditional Pow Wow and Harvest Festival will be held Sept. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with admission by donation.
   “We have hands-on demonstrations and workshops for all ages, pow wow dancing, food and craft vendors and more,” said Jennifer Stead, experience coordinator.
  The Museum of Ontario Archaeology pow wow
   The museum is at 1600 Attawandaron Rd. museumpowwow.ca; (519) 473-1360


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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