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Head Dancer

Head Male Dancer Martin Kewageshig competed in the Men's Traditional dance at the Saugeen First Nation 49th annual Competition Pow Wow August 10.

Hub Staff

It was a celebration of culture and tradition as dancers from across Turtle Island converged at the James Mason Memorial Culture & Recreation Centre, Saugeen First Nation August 10 and 11 for the 49th annual Competition Pow Wow.

The Grand Entry, led by Eagle Staff carriers and flags of various communities, nations and military branches, led the dancers into the circle to officially kick off the event.

“We as First Nations people take time to honour our Eagle Staffs, our warriors,” said the weekend's Master of Ceremonies Allen Manitowabi, explaining that for many years First Nations warriors fought alongside both Canadian and American armed forces. “It's those that we honour and take time for at the beginning of the Pow Wow when we bring in the Eagle Staffs."

A number of individuals from Saugeen First Nation have served in the armed forces, explained Manitowabi. “They're the ones who lead out our people, they lead out the dancers, they lead out our elders, our children. It is them that we honour at the beginning of the Grand Entry,” Manitowabi said.

Singers and dancers were also recognized. “We talk about song and dance and that is truly what this Pow Wow tradition is all about," said Manitowabi. “Something that was brought back as part of those things that were held back for many, many years through the residential school system.”

With a vibrant display of colourful regalia, dancers were judged on various aspects including agility, athleticism, and storytelling; as well as being in harmony with the beat of the drum.

Traditional, Grass, Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress dances brought different attire to the competition with each style bringing something personal from the dancer. Nine year old Eden Root had designed her own Jingle Dress and added her own finishing touches including a small pot on her belt buckle to represent her being a water walker.

This year's Head Male Dancer, Martin Kewageshig, who was participating in the Traditional dances, said his regalia came to him as he fasted. “When I went on my fast, these colours came to my lodge in a vision," said Kewageshig, "and the same with the Thunderbird as well,” he added, explaining the symbol on his outfit.

From young children competing in the Tiny Tots category to elders competing in the Golden Age category, generations of dancers were represented at the Saugeen First Nation Competition Pow Wow.

Eagle Staffs

Eagle Staffs in hand, carriers ready to lead the Grand Entry were, from left, Justin Johnston, Neyaashiinigmiing Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation; Saugeen First Nation Chief Lester Anoquot, and Ron Root holding the Community Eagle Staff.

Eden

Nine year old Eden Root competed in the Junior Girls (6-12) Jingle Dress dance in new regalia she had designed herself.

Dawson

Competing in the Junior Boys Fancy dance, seven year old Dawson O'Neil was not to be missed in his vibrant regalia.

Alicia

Alicia Kewageshig competed in the Fancy Shawl dance at the Saugeen First Nation 49th annual Competition Pow Wow, held August 10 and 11 at the James Mason Memorial Culture & Recreation Centre.

Lorne

Men's Traditional dancer Lorne Pawis at the Saugeen First Nation Pow Wow August 10.

Jaylynn

Representing the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, Jingle Dress dancer Jaylynn Wolfe had travelled up the coastline of Lake Huron to compete.