Sheguiandah celebrates its 26th annual traditional powwow

Traditional dancers enjoy a chat as they make their way around the Sheguiandah powwow arena under sunny blue skies. photos by Michael Erskine

SHEGUIANDAH—Sometimes the most poignant element in a ceremony is what is missing. Such was the case with the grand entry of the 26th annual Sheguiandah Traditional Powwow (Jiingtamok), as a space was left in the ranks of the flag bearers where the MIA/POW flag would have normally been borne by veteran Eddie King of South Bay. Mr. King, who has always been a revered participant in traditional powwows, is nearing the start of his spirit journey and has was unable to attend this summer’s powwow. In his honour, and in honour of Mr. King and the cause of the MIA/POW that he has always supported, a space was left where the MIA/POW flag would normally have been posted.

All eyes are on this shawl dancer as she moves and sways to the beat of the drum at the Sheguiandah powwow.
All eyes are on this shawl dancer as she moves and sways to the beat of the drum at the Sheguiandah powwow.

Master of ceremonies duties at this year’s powwow were shared by Chris Pheasant, Dan Fox and Derek Assinewai. Head veteran Jim Weillheiser deftly wielded the whistle to signal the start and end of each day’s activities in the dance arena where head female dancer Jenny Cummings and head male dancer AJ Elliott led the dancers behind the flags and eagle staffs of the grand entry. During the weekend, arena director Chop Waindubence ensured that everything proceeded as per protocol.

The Sheguiandah traditional powwow is always a favourite among both locals and visitors thanks to a stellar location on the shores of Sheguiandah Bay and through the hard work and dedication of a fantastic group of volunteers as well as the 196 registered dancers, the 13 registered eagle staff carriers, 39 vendors and the drum groups Big Bear Claw, Chi Giizis, Potawatami Fire Starters, Nimkii Tribal Drum, Young Biisineh, Genaabaajing Juniors and Smoke Trail and the one session drum groups Nimkii Nookimas and Beaver Tail.

Motorcyclists Kaitlin and Sylvie took a break from their jobs in  Toronto’s tech sector to take a day trip to visit Manitoulin aboard a retro-styled Triumph motorcycle.
Motorcyclists Kaitlin and Sylvie took a break from their jobs in Toronto’s tech sector to take a day trip to visit Manitoulin aboard a retro-styled Triumph motorcycle.

The powwow was also blessed with fantastic weather on Saturday and Sunday, with Friday getting a chance to cool off before the dancing with a smattering of rain.