Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mi'kmaq Traditional Pow Wow in Canada

Some regalia items have been handed down through generations.
     When we visited Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada in August, I attended a Mi'kmaq  traditional Pow Wow. We had not known this was scheduled during our visit, so it was among many of the serendipities we experienced as we explored Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, often without a set plan for the day.
The silver bells on the regalia skirts enhance the sounds of the dances.
Hoop dance expertise.

     The Mi'kmaq people have lived in Atlantic Canada for at least 10.000 years as a hunting, fishing, and gathering community. They graciously welcomed all who wished to attend the Pow Wow, gently teaching us the etiquette of when to stand, which ceremonies should not be photographed, etc. For the First Nation communities who organized the Pow Wow, the event is an opportunity to celebrate their rich heritage in dancing, drumming, singing, and renewing old/making new friendships. 

     Several young people demonstrated traditional dances, carrying on ancient traditions, and people in the gathering tossed donations onto each one's blanket in appreciation. The young woman celebrating the intricate hoop dance, seen in one photo, earned money for college with her presentations.
One of the beautiful craft tables.

     I think back to the Pow Wow often, remembering the warm welcome all present received, the intense drumming, the lovely crafts, the singing and dancing, the fragrant feast, and the delight the Mi'kmaq people took in their heritage and in their community. I am grateful they were generous in welcoming visitors to join their celebration. The experience reinforced my belief that the best moments on a vacation are often unplanned (although it admittedly takes plenty of planning to organize travel overall). 
Lining up for the ceremonial procession at the end of the Pow Wow.

Question of the day: What are some enduring memories you have of serendipities away from home?


All participants say their good-byes all around the final circle.