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The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival ends with a colorful pow wow

An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people visited the festival over the weekend. Last week, 15,000 students and teachers attended

Indigenous Experiences Summer Solstice Competition Powwow took place at Madahòkì Farm. Competitors wore spectacular regalia as they danced and performed for the crowd of spectators Sunday in the heat.
Indigenous peoples Experience Summer Solstice Tournament Place in Pow Wow Madahò kì Farm. Athletes wore spectacular regalia as they danced and performed for a crowd of spectators in the heat of Sunday. Photo courtesy of Ashley Fraser/Post Media

Almost a week of Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is over On Sunday, more than 140 dancers from various indigenous communities starred in a competitive pow wow fueled by colorful regalia, ceremonial dances and drums.

"I was born into this," said John McComber, a dancer who attends the spiritual name Sawatis Karonhiakeson or He Walks in the Sky. "I've been doing this since I was 2 years old. It's in my blood."

The 64-year-old Mohawk McCommer from Kahnawake was the first since the pandemic broke out. I was participating in the Pow Wow.

"For me, it's a spiritual and physical joy. I have a gift — I can see and communicate with the spirit and dance with the spirit. But what's great is the turtle. Go out to different communities on the island to see what they're doing and share with them who I am, and vice versa. "

Suburbs of Orilia Another Pow Wow dancer, Sandive Benson, a 68-year-old Ojibwa who lives in the Rama Sanctuary, also felt that community leadership helped drive the festival.

"This is our blessing and our celebration," he said. "We will have fun meeting people. Since COVID two years ago, this is a real celebration of meeting again."

The feeling of the gathering is only in Pow Wow. Held at Madahoki Farm in Hunt Club Road West, jewelry, art, coffee, chocolates by indigenous artisans, dream catchers and other crafts. There were plenty of information booths and historic exhibits, and the kids enjoyed the theater, storytelling, face painting, contact farms, and bungee jumping.

According to the organizers, an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people visited the festival over the weekend, and last week's educational tour brought about 15,000 students and teachers to the scene. During June, about 75,000 people attended the festival's twice-weekly online education workshop.

Over the weekend, a number of hands-on workshops were held, including killwork, making beaded seal keychains, and teaching birch bark biting. His work in the National Gallery's collection is said to be one of Canada's oldest forms of art.

In this process, a small square piece of birch or paper birch is folded three times to create eight layers and bite the pattern, similar to making a paper snowflake. Participants in a workshop on Sunday created a turtle design.

"But art is not a birch bark," said Braskupe, an Algonquian of Kitigan Zibi. "Art is communication and collaboration when doing it. These people here (at the workshop) have never met, but it has become like a communal family."

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, some members of the family were busy reconnecting with their roots and building that bond for the first time. Greg Cox and his 20-year-old daughter, Jamie, attended the festival on Sunday in hopes of strengthening their relationship with Metis' heritage.

"My grandfather and his brother founded the Alberta Métis Association, but I'm a little far from my home culture, so I'm trying to get more exposure," Greg said. "This is Jamie's first jewelery and my first jewelery for many years. And it was great. A great way to reconnect with great celebrations. And it's about the community."

Meanwhile, Jamie took the starter bead kit home so he could start making his own jewelry.

"I always wondered who my ancestors were and what the culture was," she said. "I've always known that I'm Metis, but I haven't done much about it in the past, but in the last two years I've begun to hear more about upcoming political issues. I wanted to learn more about it and get involved. "

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