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Two-day Mawi’omi brings multiple generations together on Lennox Island First Nation


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LENNOX ISLAND, P.E.I. —  Overcast skies and rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of a number of generations, who travelled from throughout Canada and so far as the US, to bounce to the drumbeat on the Lennox Island First Nation’s 23 annual Mawi’omi.

“Gatherings like this symbolize our tradition and conventional methods, and we should instill these into our children as a result of that is the place our satisfaction comes from,” stated Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation, on the ceremony that kicked off occasions on Saturday, Aug. 26, and Sunday, Aug. 27.

“Mi’kmaq folks come from studying our conventional methods and language and instilling these into the long run generations. And I wish to see this gathering 100 years from now after I’m sitting subsequent to the Creator, which I hope is the place I’ll be. So, we should proceed to have a good time our tradition.”

Adriannah Reeves, 15, performs a fancy shawl dance that represents the opening of a cocoon when a butterfly emerges. Desiree Anstey - Desiree Anstey
Adriannah Reeves, 15, performs a elaborate scarf dance that represents the opening of a cocoon when a butterfly emerges. Desiree Anstey – Desiree Anstey

Conventional dances just like the jingle costume dance, grass dance, blanket dance, and dances honouring or remembering family members had been a part of the performances revolving across the beat of the drum and the sound of the singers’ voices.

As well as, a market filled with meals distributors promoting conventional dishes and genuine Indigenous crafts lined the skin of the efficiency circle.

“The meals, music, dancing, regalia of the dancers, it’s all vital,” continued Bernard.

“Mawi’omi means gathering. It’s about unity, supporting one another, reconnecting with our roots, and working towards our tradition with honour. At one level, we had been saved aside and couldn’t apply our tradition. So immediately, we’re celebrating resilience. We’re a collective drive.”

Adriannah Reeves, 15, from Lennox Island, was amongst these dancing in conventional regalia.

“My regalia is a elaborate scarf; vibrant, flashy, with fringes and embroidered ribbon work on the again. So, after I enter the circle and start the flamboyant scarf dance, it represents the opening of a cocoon when the butterfly emerges,” explains Reeves.

“And my (pink) costume additionally represents the therapeutic and standing of my folks,” she famous.

There have been many wearing conventional regalia.

Head dancer Bert ’One Breath’ Mitchell leads dancers in the circle in traditional regalia, including a bear claw necklace. Desiree Anstey - Desiree Anstey
Head dancer Bert ’One Breath’ Mitchell leads dancers within the circle in conventional regalia, together with a bear claw necklace. Desiree Anstey – Desiree Anstey


From Eskasoni, N.S., Ron Paul wore a lynx headpiece and a beaver scarf. He says he pays “honour and respect” to his spirit animal, the lynx, and attends these gatherings to protect his tradition for future generations.

“Attending gatherings like that is serving to the survival of our tradition, and for different individuals who can’t be right here due to their sickness – bodily, psychological, emotional, non secular – they will’t come up right here, so I dance for them and the kids. I’ve been dancing for about 30 years,” stated Paul.

He added, “I wish to be a task mannequin for the kids, to maintain their tradition alive and encourage them.”

A feel-good environment permeated the two-day Mawi’omi, which befell beneath a tent the primary day due to extreme rainfall however then moved outside the next day.

“It’s good medication,” chimed Bernard.

She famous that whereas intergenerational traumas persist, Indigenous peoples are resilient.

“And once we come collectively like this, look, the kids are glad, they’re working, studying new traditions, and we’re having the ability to discuss to them about issues. It’s about sharing, even sharing tales. Our language could be very descriptive, so we should revitalize it.”

Dancing to the drumbeat and singers while dressed in bright blue is Lexis Francis, 13, from Lennox Island First Nation. She says she started participating in these cultural events six years ago to “keep her culture alive and strong.” Desiree Anstey - Desiree Anstey
Dancing to the drumbeat and singers whereas wearing brilliant blue is Lexis Francis, 13, from Lennox Island First Nation. She says she began taking part in these cultural occasions six years in the past to “maintain her tradition alive and powerful.” Desiree Anstey – Desiree Anstey

In the identical spirit of the ceremony, which wrapped up with an encouraging prayer and a conventional feast on Sunday night, Chief Bernard mirrored with a constructive reminder when occasions are difficult, progress is being made.

“A variety of nice work is occurring on P.E.I. within the sense that the premier has dedicated our tradition to the college curriculum, and we’re seeing extra Indigenous indicators in parks or for place names, to call a couple of. So, it’s small steps, however we’re transferring ahead.”

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