Sheguiandah celebrates family and community during 28th annual powwow

Young girls demonstrate fancy shawl dancing.

SHEGUIANDAH––Sheguiandah First Nation welcomed family, friends and visitors to share in their 28th annual Jingtamook. As dancers and staff carriers prepared for grand entry, emcee Bob Goulais explained the historical origins of the powwow gathering.

“We came together to enjoy and celebrate each other and our families,” he said. “We greeted the new relatives who were born that year during winter time. It was also a time we would share our clans, share our clan’s stories, share our community stories, and, of course, our songs. From our singers and dancers and carriers of that knowledge, we are very fortunate to be a part of that here in Sheguiandah First Nation.”

Sheguiandah is a favourite on the local powwow trail, and attendance proved that once again this year. Vendors provided a wide offering of arts, crafts, food and other items for sale. Many campers enjoyed Sheguiandah First Nation’s beautiful powwow grounds throughout the weekend. Although some people complained about the heat, others remembered the rain during last year’s powwow. A water fountain and bottle refill station helped keep powwow goers cool.

Head dancer Gabriel Whiteduck expressed his appreciation at both the number of dancers and the wide age range and variety of styles presented. “Usually there are more women dancers,” he said. “But there are just as many men and youth here this weekend. It’s so good to see all these young people coming out to dance and celebrate and share our culture.”

Mr. Whiteduck’s partner Jahna Sutherland was head female dancer. On Sunday, Ms. Sutherland presented gifts of a blanket to jingle dress dancer Virginia for her enthusiasm and for all the work she does in her community, and to a young man, Colton, for setting an example by dancing when he could have been at the beach or out with friends.

Sheg powwow head dancers lead a round dance, a dance of reconciliation and

Wilfred Trudeau and Marie Eshkibok-Trudeau were head elders and provided the daily invocations following grand entry. The head veteran was Nyjoe Ritche. Dan Fox of Wiikwemkoong shared emcee duties with Mr. Goulais. Chop Waindubence was arena director once again.

In addition to the usual intertribals and category demonstrations, there were specials for men’s traditional, tiny tots and women’s traditional. A hand drum competition was held on Saturday night, followed by a fantastic fireworks display at dusk.

Sunday’s special included the annual canoe boxing contest, with Dave Trudeau winning the competition for the seventh time in a row, and on his 40th birthday. A birthday song was played for Dave and his family.

In addition to Ms. Eshkibok-Trudeau’s plea to take care of Mother Earth, special guests from Wiikwemkoong, Autumn Peltier and water walker Josephine Mandamin, spoke about the importance of caring for our water.

Happy but tired dancers departed Sunday evening looking forward to 2019.