Longtime powwow volunteer rebuts chief’s assertions

To the Expositor:

In response to the ‘Sheguiandah Protest resets powwow count,’ June 19, page 4. I have to ask, ‘who’s misleading who?’

I’d like to know where the substantial donation went that was made to the band for the powwow committee last year but was never received? Is this what is paying for the drum group that’s costing $10,000, or is this a rumour? I get tired of reading or hearing all this negativity about the protestors and the blame that is placed on them continually by a dictator. Yes I said ‘dictator,’ because we, the band members and staff, are being told what to do by the chief in regards to the powwow. In all the years of volunteering, in which I have participated in many different social and community events, I have never personally seen any of Orville’s family nor his supporters volunteer. (Especially without getting paid.) If you drive around while watching these ‘volunteers’ preparing the powwow grounds, they are only seen there between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm and all these volunteers are on the payroll. I believe that this ‘newly formed committee’ doesn’t have the right to use the ‘24th annual’ as the chief has stated that this is a newly formed group. I also believe that in order to run something annually, you have to be an original organizer or be part of that group or have done it consecutively. So quit blaming the protesters. You and your new committee have to start from your first as it is a newly formed committee and this is your first time running a powwow. I, as a band member, have just as much right as you or the next person to use the Sheguiandah First Nation or the word community as this is ‘my’ community. Neither you nor your supporters are going to intimidate me by your negativity, insults or lack of empathy. I believe everyone has their judgment day and it will come soon enough for all the bad that they’ve done or imposed on or against the protesters or any individual. I’d like to share with you and your volunteers that on the powwow trail, which goes a long way, they’ve already heard that the chief (Aguonie’s) and his family and friends have taken control of running the powwow and that the Waindubences (the usual head organizers) and their family and friends will not be running nor will they be attending. I can read the headlines now, Sheg protestors sabotage powwow’ by telling booth owners, dancers, veterans not to attend the powwow. Like I’ve told a few dancers and booth owners, it’s their choice if they want to attend, and that I’m sure this newly-formed committee knows what they are doing.

Just to give a heads-up, if I want to hold a powwow in honour of someone who is either passed on or still with us at ‘Chaa-Iee’s Ball Field’ I’ll do it if I want. Again, heads-up to the public: if you want to drive around the powwow grounds, be careful as the band has people blocking and intimidating those who drive around, especially at night. This happened to my son and he knows who the one person is as he recognized the vehicle. One vehicle was a band vehicle but he was unsure of the driver and the other was unknown. I will not tolerate this kind of intimidation any more, and the public needs to know what this dictator is doing in ‘my’ community and to ‘our’ family and extended family. Best of luck to your 1st SFN Annual Community powwow. May it be an historic event, bigger and better because as I know and see it, you always have to be right and be better than the rest of us.

I try to live in harmony, but I am constantly reminded that I’m a bad person because I participated in a protest against a dictator and what I believed to be ‘my right.’ Just a little reminder: we wouldn’t be in this position if the alleged assaults hadn’t occurred.

A concerned parent with a foster home with children,

Jackie Bowerman
Sheguiandah First Nation