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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A whole lot of individuals gathered in Charlottetown on Oct. 1 for the first-ever Treaty Day Mawio’mi in Prince Edward Island.
The occasion was hosted by the Epekwitk Meeting of Councils on the Eastlink Centre.
Greater than 150 Indigenous singers, drummers, distributors and artisans got here collectively to mark Treaty Day, which commemorates the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725-1779.
Logan Lewis, who was one of many head dancers on the occasion, stated he has all the time danced throughout Treaty Day celebrations since childhood. However he was stunned to study Sunday’s occasion marked the primary official and annual Treaty Day Mawio’mi on the Island.
“Realizing that it’s the primary one, it makes me really feel actually good,” he informed SaltWire in the course of the occasion. “We’re on track.”
‘Good power, good spirits’
Lewis showcased the grass dance on the occasion, which he stated is a type of dance representing warrior societies.
His regalia consisted of lengthy strands of yarn and cloth, representing grass, swaying to the rhythm of his dancing, alongside together with his head roach produced from porcupine hair and deer tail.
The regalia prominently featured inexperienced colors, which Lewis stated represents P.E.I., together with plenty of intricate beadwork and feathers.
“The feathers characterize simply good power, good spirits, good ideas,” he stated. “Numerous our regalia – they characterize who we aren’t solely as an individual however the place will we come from.”
For Lewis, who’s initially from Lennox Island, the Treaty Day Mawio’mi provided one other alternative to share the information he has gained over time with others.
He has been dancing for the reason that age of 5 however did not totally commit till he turned 18. Since then, he has travelled to varied competitions throughout North America, studying from others and gathering teachings.
“So I may deliver it again to my neighborhood, to my individuals and educate them, ‘OK, that is what I’ve realized,’” he stated.
Mi’kmaw elder Junior Peter-Paul echoed the significance of the Treaty Day Mawio’mi for academic functions.
“I feel it is vital for us to share what we do in our treaty methods and our cultural methods, to enhance extra of what we do, to let individuals know who we’re, what we went by way of previously. That is a part of our train that we’re bringing again, what we by no means had for a very long time was taken away from us,” the elder stated.
“So we’re right here at present to have a good time that, the Treaty Day and the reconciliation so vital to us and for those who would not know something about us.”
On the occasion, Peter-Paul showcased gadgets produced from birchbark at his sales space.
His curiosity within the craft started a number of years in the past whereas taking part within the building of a standard birchbark canoe with a Mi’kmaw canoe builder from Nova Scotia.
The expertise sparked his ardour for the artwork, and since then he’s gone on to create varied gadgets like birch bark containers, which he dropped at the occasion.
“It is type of a misplaced artwork, so right here I’m, bringing it again.”
Sunday’s occasion can be vital as a result of it’s a mawio’mi – a gathering, which holds particular significance in Indigenous cultures because it brings individuals collectively, stated the Mi’kmaw elder.
“That is the time for us to fulfill with the individuals, meet with our households, you understand, meet with our buddies. And it is a very attention-grabbing social gathering that we’ve got. Numerous our distributors are right here. Numerous our dancers are right here. Numerous guests are right here. So, it is nice to fulfill up with new individuals, socialize. And, additionally, we’re all right here to offer the training to them, you understand, of what we do.”
Thinh Nguyen is a multimedia reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @thinhnguyen4291.