Unity and identity celebrated at annual MSS powwow

In photo is one of the four drum groups that took part in the 24th annual Manitoulin Secondary School powwow celebrations recently.

M’CHIGEENG – The Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) 24th annual powwow was a huge success with many Island elementary schools, First Nation community leaders, and school students and staff taking part.

Guest speaker Josh Eshkawkogan said, “this celebration at MSS today is all about unity and identity. Today, we look at each other as one, as one spirit.”

“Say thank you to the seven directors, giving comments who and lives given to us,” said Mr. Eshkawkogan. He pointed out that the return of numerous birds to Manitoulin Island after the long winter, and that the smelts running in streams around Manitoulin were “signs of spring, signs of life.”

MSS vice-principal Denis Lafleur said, “on behalf of MSS we would like to welcome elders, staff and flag carriers, flags, singers, elders, First Nation chiefs and all the elementary schools here today from around the Island (Lakeview, Charles C. McLean, Central Manitoulin Public School and Little Current Public School).”

“This is our 24th annual powwow,” said Mr. Lafleur. “This (powwow) is one of the many different things we do at MSS celebrating our diversity and culture.”

The grand entrance included among others Head Veteran Howie Debassige carrying the M’Chigeeng flag staff, Martin Panamick carrying the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising flag, Phoenix McGregor carrying the M’Chigeeng flag, Jalen Waindubence carrying the Sheguiandah First Nation flag, Travis Corbiere with the Ontario flag and Becky Abotossaway with the Canadian flag.

Master of ceremonies for the event was Ethan Mejaki, while the arena director was Shade Kaiser.

The host drum was the Redman, with Nimkee the invited drum. Thunder Earth and Lakeview School Drum also attended.