Every year, on the third weekend of August, everyone is welcomed to witness Turtle Island’s finest Powwow Singers and Dancers at the annual Rama Powwow, known as one of the largest Powwows in Ontario, Canada. Starting with a Grand Entry and a few speeches from preeminent figures of the events, this festival of culture, of colours and of life continues with various dancing and singing contests, spiced up with jokes in between.
A gathering place, Chippewa territory was considered a place where the travelers rested before continuing their journey, or a place where they could hold meetings.
Part of the Ojibwa Nation, Chippewa’s of Lake Huron and Simcoe continue to preserve their traditions. With a long migration history, this community ended purchasing land in Rama Township in 1836, a strategic geographical location for fishing and not only.
As any modern Pow Wow, this is an event for Native people to meet and dance, sing, socialize, and honor their cultures. But also to promote their culture, and to keep alive the native spirit.
While the master of ceremony keeps on the schedule with different dancing contests for each group of age, maintains the drum rotation, or throws out some little jokes to entertain the audience, I couldn’t stop noticing how some of the participants are transported to another world or to another time. And while a whole soul is put into some dance performances, the really touching part for me was the drumming skills and songs I could hear when going around for a better sight.
And while the Chippewa’s festival of colour and of life follows its course, and my spine has little goosebumps from the drum’s vibrations, I stay back for a bit and wonder at their own whirling history. Seeing the little kids dancing and following their parent’s steps gave me the confidence their culture will be in good hands for future generations.