When we came over with the ferry from the Bruce Peninsula, we didn’t know what to expect from Manitoulin. We couldn’t find a lot of interesting information in the books we had with us, so we decided to go to the local beach and relax. When we got there, we were approached by a couple asking us the usual questions : “where are you from and where are you going?” They asked us if we knew about the Pow Wow. When we told them that we had never heard of such an event, they told us that it was a Native festival with a lot of music and dancing and that it was very colourful. We decided to pack up our swim suit and towel and drive 1 hour to reach the Wikwemikong Pow Wow.
The event lasts a weekend and consists of Native Indian people dancing and singing. Most of them are wearing regalia clothing and sometimes they have competitions to see who is the best dancer.
You can not call it costumes because a costumes turns you into someone else, while regalia clothing shows your history and background. The styles of the regalia clothing takes on many appearances, sometimes they are extremely colourful and other times they are very animal like. In some cases they wear bells on their dresses or on their feet and every step they take while dancing, produces a soft pinging sound.
They had a special guest amongst them called Hitchbot. He is a robot that is hitchhiking from Halifax to Victoria. We had heard about him and wanted to take him with us for a while, but there was already someone else who would take him away, but this didn’t turn out to be the end of this story, we’ll tell you more about this in the next blog entry…!
They even had someone there who gave us a tour to explain the natural healing possibilities of all the flowers and plants on the island. We learned a few new ones that we will be trying out soon…
Near the evening, they had a grand entry, including all the different types of regalia clothing, all the grand mothers and fathers and all the people who played a significant role in the history of the Native people. It turned out that you couldn’t take pictures while they were dancing because they considered that to be unrespectful.
Walking around, you could feel and taste the history of the Native population of Manitoulin and I felt honoured to be there. Near the end of the day I even got to dance inside the sacred circle alongside all the Natives and it was mind blowing.
That night we both slept very long and deep on the Indian Reservation and it just seemed to confirm the magic vibe that hung around the festival.