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St George's Bay Mi'kmaq

Conne River Powwow enlightens youth

By CANDACE RUSSELL

Special to the Georgian

The weekend of July 3-6 marked the 8th annual traditional Powwow for Conne River.

Conne River is the only recognized Indian reserve on the island of Newfoundland. The people of Conne River live out their daily lives in connection with the traditional Mi'Kmaq way of life, and strive to bring our culture into the future for all to enjoy. A Powwow is a celebration of our connection to tradition, spirituality, to the Earth, and to one another in a social, personal, and spiritual meeting.

The weekend also marked the very first trip of the aboriginal youth of the Fedof Newfoundland Indians to Conne River's Powwow. This experience was one that has brought a sense of enlightenment and pride to our youth. It has instilled in them, a sense of belonging to our culture, and to our aboriginal ancestors.

The traditions and beliefs that the native peoples so long ago participated in and carried out as their everyday routine, were brought to life with the beat of the drum. The drum is said to be the heartbeat of the Indian Nation which carries the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and calls the spirits and nations together.

Aboriginal youth made their first visit to the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Conne River Powwow. In traditional dress, are Sarah Wells, Indian Head First Nations, Don Capelin and Ingrid Brooks, Head Dancers of Quebec, and Candace Russell, Youth Coordinator for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.

Over the weekend, there were various traditional ceremonies taking place. Even though the weather did not quite cooperate, the feeling that the ceremonies evoked was indescribable, and like no other. The Sunrise Ceremony took place by the sacred fire and is performed when the sun first rises in the morning. I he ceremony does not go by a clock, but by the way of the elders and the time that they see and feel the sun rising.

Cultural Dancing is performed in traditional Regalia which is represented by the person wearing it. Each piece of clothing is specific to the person, and represents lliem as an individual based on their specific beliefs, talents, and traditions.

The Sweat Lodge Ceremony is said to be cleansing and purifying. An individual who enters the sweat lodge will be fully cleansed in the spirit, body, and mind.

Through the Comic River Powwow, the youth of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians has found a sense of culture, family, and tradition. It has brought back to us the feeling of belonging, and of what it was like to be one of our ancestors. It has taught us that our culture must live on into the future for our youth to share and respect. The ceremonies that took place are sacred, and are meant to he cherished. 'Vs the Youth Coordinator lor the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, I would like to extend a huge thank-you to the Board of Directors, and Chiefs of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians for their support in our venture to the Conne River Powwow. We would like to thank mem loi giving us the opportunity to be a part of such an overwhelming experience.

I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and determination tlial the youth have put into their trip to Conne River. Together, they were able to fundraise a total of $1312.40 in support of their trip. This trip has been just tlie beginning of a long road to self discovery!

Aboriginals from all over took part in the Conne Rive Powwow held from July 3-6. From left are Richard Louvelle of the Comer Brook Band Council, Lori LeRoux of the St. Georges Band Council, Victor Muise of the St. John's Native Friendship Center, Stella Muise of the St. Georges Band Council, Erica Louvelle of the Comer Brook Band Council, Adrienne Paul of the Exploits Indian Band Council, Jordan Bennett and Sarah Wells of Indian Head First Nations, Randy Drover of Exploits Indian Band Council, Candace Russell, Youth Coordinator for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, and Wayne Russell of Indian Head First Nations. Missing from photograph are Daniel Young, Nigel Huxter and Mark Hobbs of the Exploits Indian Band Council and Linda Wells of Indian Head First Nations.

Submitted photo

Source:

The Georgian Newspaper, Stephenville, NL. July 8-14, 2003





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