SHEGUIANDAH—Sheguiandah celebrated its 25th annual jiingtamok ( powwow ) this past weekend with a large crowd and numerous dancers.
Masters of Ceremonies Dan Fox and Chris Pheasant kept the event on schedule and the crowd entertained throughout the weekend, while arena director Chop Waindubence kept the dancers organized.
There were several drum groups rotating, keeping the heartbeat of the powwow alive including Young Biisine, Spirit Bear, High Eagle and Sitting Bear.
During Grand Entry, the staff carriers were James Shawanda with the Wikwemikong Miigaanzijik, Head Veteran Eddie King with the POW MIA, Isadore Pangowish of Wikwemikong with the Sprit Bear Eagle Staff, Robert Stoney Point of Sagamok with the Sagamok Community Eagle Staff, Ray Jackson of Wikwemikong with the Mnidoo Mnising Victory Staff, Floyd Blais of Webbwood with the Brunswick House Community Eagle Staff, Daniel Pelletien of London carrying the Addiction and Recovery Eagle Staff, James Atkinson of Sheguiandah carrying the Sheguiandah Warrior Staff, Jim Wells carrying the North American Vietnam Staff, Henry Eshkibok with the Warrior staff, George Francis of Birch Island with the Little NHL Staff and Bill Antoine with the Zhiibaahaasing Eagle Staff. Miss Wikwemikong Destinee Kaboni was also a part of the grand entry and was joined by head dancers Dawn Madahbee Leach and Russel Noganosh.
Dawn Madahbee Leach was recognized as not only being the head female dancer for the 25th annual Sheguiandah Powwow, but was also the head female dancer at the inaugural Sheguiandah Powwow 25 years ago.
“I was very honoured to be asked,” said Ms. Madahbee Leach. “Twenty-five years ago, many communities on the Island were working towards restarting their powwows. All the communities really worked together, supporting one another and sharing best practices. It is nice to see that that the partnerships are still ongoing.”
“I had a lot of fun,” Ms. Madahbee Leach continued. “The first powwow was such a big celebration and I admired the good work of the organizing committee, especially Gabriel and Clara Waindubence and their son Gordon who started clearing the grounds for the powwow grounds over 25 years ago.”
The women’s traditional dancer said that she looks forward to the Sheguiandah Powwow each year.
“It is one of the largest in the region and the organizers build a lot of fun elements into it that really create a positive atmosphere,” added Ms. Madahbee. “It is close to the July long weekend and the start of the tourist season here on Manitoulin which always draws in a lot of dancers and a big crowd. They always add something new every year that makes it a lot of fun too.”
“It was a really awesome powwow,” said Sheguiandah Deputy Chief Georgina Thompson. “The family that runs it (the Waindubence family) wanted to still have it because they knew that’s what Richard (Shawanda, the community’s recently deceased chief) would have wanted. There was an honour dance held for him with family and friends, which was very nice.”
“The arena was full and there were a lot of dancers,” continued Ms. Thompson. “Twenty-five years is a milestone for the community and a celebration for all the years of hard work.”