Bay of Quinte Tourism

31st Annual Tyendinaga Pow Wow: Honouring Truth and Reconciliation

Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow Wow
Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow Wow
A jingle dress dancer, followed by a fancy shawl dancer and others, participate in an inter-tribal social dance during the Tyendinaga Pow Wow, on August 11th.

Every August, during the second weekend, people gather from all over to enjoy community and fun at the annual Tyendinaga Pow Wow. August 11 and 12 marked the 31st year of the celebration in our community.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow Wow
Chief R. Donald Maracle enjoying the pow wow on Saturday afternoon, wearing his ribbon shirt and traditional Mohawk Kastowa (men’s traditional headwear). The three-feather formation symbolizes the Mohawk nation.

Chief R. Donald Maracle writes, “The values of our traditional society are based on sharing, caring, learning and respect for creation and each other. I am pleased that the theme of this year’s Pow Wow is ‘Honouring Truth and Reconciliation’”.

Not so long ago, practicing our ceremonies as First Nation’s people, celebrating with our dances and music, speaking our languages and exchanging our gifts and knowledge was banned in Canada. As I enter Tkerhi’to:ton Park, the spirit surrounding me is of joy and sharing. I think about this year’s theme, about how our ancestors hid our cultures underground and we are now able to celebrate them proudly, together.

Ruby Doreen, one of the organizers, explains that to her a Pow Wow is, “…togetherness, love, sharing, visiting, exchanging gifts and learning about other cultures.”

Everyone is welcome to come to a Pow Wow. They happen every weekend in the summer in communities across our country. A quick google search will bring up Pow Wow calendars for any area you might be visiting. Here is the one for Ontario. When attending your first Pow Wow, it’s important to remember that many of the dances, songs and regalia hold special meanings to the people who participate. Whoever is announcing the event will tell you when it is appropriate to take photos but the rule of thumb is simple: just ask!

Ruby says that this year our Pow Wow had more than 1000 attendees on Saturday. So, what draws people? The beautiful dancing and singing, artisans who have booths where you can shop and the delicious food.

Artisans

The outlying edges of Pow Wow Park are lined with booths full of beautiful creations, educational tools, plants and other goods such as medicines, herbs, teas. People travel from all over to sell their goods at Pow Wows. You will find jewelry, clothing, artwork, beading, books, learning resources and more!

Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow wow
Bruno Henry is a member of Six Nations Territory, who lives in Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Burno makes these beautiful deer and moose antler earrings with the precision to paint his small designs on them. You can follow him on social media @brunohenry25
Traditional Mohawk raised beadwork by Yvonne Thomas on a beautiful yoke as a part of a regalia set including matching cuffs.
Beads and creations being sold by artist and educator Naomi Smith, who also works with Yvonne teaching workshops through the Jake Thomas Learning Centre. You can follow her on Facebook at Black Tulip Designs.
Nikki Auten and her mother, Sharon Hill, create these beautiful ribbon shirts, dresses and skirts.
Yvonne Thomas works on a Western Door Alliance wampum belt on a large wooden loom. Yvonne runs the Jake Thomas Learning Centre in Six Nations. The centre is named after her late husband and chief, Jake Thomas. These replica belts are used for teaching about our laws/treaties, histories and stories. You can find more information about the centre here.
Kanonhsowa:nen (Dustin) Brant holds one of his hand made water drums with his son, Karontote. After the first day of the Pow Wow he says he is nearly sold out of his beautiful drums and rattles. Dustin shares a table with his wife, Otsitsia, who was selling her essential oil products. The family hails from and currently lives in Tyendinaga.
Doug Brant, from Tyendinaga, standing amongst his prints, drawings and creations of quotes burned into leather.

Food

Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow wow
Manomin Native Food Services serves up buffalo burgers and pulled pork on frybread and more! Manomin means “wild rice” and comes from the word Manitou – what the Ojibwa call ‘the great spirit’.

As with all our gatherings, there is a ton of food. Sharing a meal is an important part of coming together with friends, family and community. Pow Wow cuisine is based around traditional foods, sometimes with a contemporary twist. You’ll find traditional game meat, wild rice, corn soup, strawberry drink and more contemporary foods that have become a part of Pow Wow culture, like frybread.

 

The fry bread queen (Carol Anne Maracle), straight out of Tyendinaga, always draws a huge line.

Fry bread is simply a flat dough bread that is deep fried. You can have it however you like – with butter, jam, fried bologna, peameal bacon, but I suggest to do it up right and go for the Indian taco: a piece of fry bread with all the taco fixings on top. Grab a fork for this one because it is messy! 

 

Things to Do in Bay of Quinte: Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow Wow
Ashley and Cassia Bensoussan (my sister and niece!) enjoying their Indian taco from the Frybread Queen.

Dance

The central part of any Pow Wow is the dancing and singing. People travel from all over to compete, show off their moves and have a good time.

Things to Do in Bay of Quinte: Tyendinaga Mohawk Pow Wow
Theland Kicknosway, member of Walpole Island – Bkejwanong Territory, doing a hoop dance for a captivated audience. The dancer impressively moves their hoops into shapes, often telling a story – creating animals, elements of nature or showing events.

Some dancers you might see are: jingle dress (a dress with metal cones which jingle as the women dance), fancy shawl (the women with the beautiful shawls with long ribbons) and the dancer pictured above doing a hoop dance. There is a lot of significance behind the regalia and dances (too much to explain here in this blog!) so why not head come out to our next Pow Wow, chat with people and see what you can learn!


Shelby Lisk is a Kanyen’kéha:ka (Mohawk) photographer, writer and artist from Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory).

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Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

© 2018 Bay of Quinte Region | © TripAdvisor 2016

Bay of Quinte Region is an alliance of interdependent communities, bound together by a common history, shared economy, and the water that surrounds and defines us. We hope to welcome you soon.

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