In case you don’t know, the Conne River annual Pow Wow is attended by aboriginals and non-aboriginals from all regions of the province and from many areas of Canada.
The origins of a native Pow Wow go back hundreds, if not thousands of years, to early native cultures in nearly all areas of North America.
The tradition continues down to this very day and, as in the past, are held by many different aboriginal groups across the continent.
While Pow Wows are a reflection of the past, a modern day event is a contemporary social gathering and celebration of community that features drum music, songs, dance, food, and native vendors showing and selling their arts and crafts.
One of the really interesting things about the Pow Wow in Conne River is the colourful native traditional regalia or clothes worn by the many aboriginals attending the activity.
To see the natives in their regalia dancing to the rhythmic beating of the drummers is enthralling to say the least. It’s simply beautiful.
And the drumming, well that’s something in itself. You can feel the pulse of the drummers as they play and chant their traditional songs.
The regalia, the drumming and the dancing all take you back to a time when aboriginal groups roamed the great plains and forested areas of North America long before the bad guys (white people) came to our shores.
It must have been a hard life but it was great too in that these people enjoyed the open spaces of North America to live as they wanted back then.
It’s hard for us to imagine the freedom these people enjoyed back hundreds of years ago but there it was, an entire continent for the different aboriginal groups in North America at that time.
And then the white man came and, in a short period of time as history goes, many aboriginals across the continent were wiped out mainly by disease. Today, the great native nations are a shadow of their former selves but their history and culture still survives to some degree.
And that is probably a main purpose of a Pow Wow- to continue the native traditions and to pass their culture and history on to a new generation.
While the traditional regalia and drumming is great at a Conne River Pow Wow, the best thing is to see the young residents of the community taking part in the dancing and the activities.
It’s important to this group because although they live in very modern world they will want to continue their history, spiritual beliefs and many other values through their lives and pass them on to their children and grandchildren.
A Pow Wow is a good place to learn native customs and traditions and, for the past 17 years, the band council and council staff in Conne River have done an excellent job each year in organizing this important event.
Let’s hope that the Pow Wows in the community continue well into the future and that they will continue to enrich the lives of the Mi’kmaq and all peoples of the Coast of Bays.