Guest post by 5/6F student Carson M.
On Friday, April, 24th, 2015, Rousseau students celebrated First Nations culture at a special “Music Champions Celebration”, featuring guest performers Jay Shawana & the group O Niagara. They also viewed a documentary by community media specialist Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay. As well, students viewed the music videos created by students in Classes 4/5O, 5/6F and 6R, who participated in the 3-month-long “Music Champions” program, a program offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music (“Learning Through the Arts”). Students had the chance to experience some First Nations dancing, singing and learn about the specifics of these performances. As I said on a previous blog post, “it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see all of the dances”, but as the blog also states, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you want to experience more of this original Canadian culture, you could go to a Pow Wow. I decided to look further into Pow Wows, here’s what I learned!
Just by searching up: “First Nations PowWows Hamilton” I got tons of cool websites that show dates for upcoming Pow Wows of all First Nations cultures! Here is a link for a website full of PowWow schedules for the Province of Ontario! http://calendar.powwows.com/events/categories/pow-wows/pow-wows-in-ontario/
Here are some specific Pow Wow dates:
- August 22-23, Chippewas of Rama First Nation Pow Wow (Rama, Ont.)
- June 20 – June 21, Aamjiwnaang First Nation 54th Annual Pow Wow (Sarnia, Ont.)
- June 19 – June 21, 19th Annual National Aboriginal Day Soaring Spirit Festival Pow Wow (Hamilton, Ontario ON)
What is a Pow Wow? Pow Wow time is a First Nations peoples gathering and meeting together, to join with each other in various celebratory events such as dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. This is a time to bring back the thoughts of the good ol’ ways and to keep the rich heritage alive! Pow Wows or “celebration” as it was called back then, were held in spring to welcome new life and different tribal nations would come together for the event. The different groups would take this time to settle arguments, form alliances and trade with each other. Also, families would hold naming and honoring ceremonies. Original Pow Wows were often of religious significance furthermore, they consisted of religious dances and songs. However at contemporary Pow Wows, religious dances are not usually performed. Contemporary Pow Wows is a social event for everyone to have an awesome time, whether you are a Native Canadian or not! It offers a chance for Native Canadians and also Native Americans from tons of different tribal nations to get together and participate in visiting, signing and dancing. Also it is a chance for our non-First Nations people to come and take part in inter-tribal dancing for a Pow Wow is considered a cultural sharing event for all to learn about Natives and to share information and ideas.
The Pow Wow season is from March to September or later and some choose to “go the circuit” for the entire season. They might travel all over Canada, and even parts of the United States. People also take part in competitive dancing and signing for money is a recent change in the traditional Powwows. You must be registered to partake.
The word Powwow, some trace, belongs to the Algonquin language. Originally pronounced “pauau” or “pau wau” which means “gathering of medicine men and spiritual leaders in a curing ceremony”. Early European settlers thought that the term meant a council or a large gathering of native peoples, so the word spread through the nation. As the natives learned the English language, they accepted the term and definition given to their social events.
“The circle is an important symbol to First Nations cultures because it symbolizes the continuation of life. To the Native Candians, life is never ending, exactly like the geometric shape we, today call, a circle. Powwows bring the circle of the people closer, closer to their culture and their community”
I hope you learned something about Pow Wows from this post and until next time, this is Carson singing off. Have fun!!!!