Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Spirited homecoming at 42nd annual powwow

By Vicki Gough, Chatham Daily News

MORAVIANTOWN—Colour, sounds and aroma of traditional First Nation culture filled this Delaware Nation over the weekend.

 

The approximate 600 people who call this community home welcomed friends, relatives and others interested in their culture to the 42 annual powwow gathering.

Chief Greg Peters was especially pleased to see so many people "celebrating and sharing our culture with visitors."

Peters told The Daily News the powwow has shifted in recent years from a time for reconnecting to an opportunity to share the Delaware Nation culture with the surrounding community.

"We welcome our neighbours to try the food and see the dancing," Peters said.

"It makes me feel good to see families working together," he added.

This year's powwow was also promoted more through the Internet.

Many young children and adults through to elders dressed in handmade regalia of cotton, beads, bone and feathers.

Metal cones added sound to those who competed in the jingle dress dance.

Hassan Ridgeway travelled with family, from New Jersey, invited for the first time to host drum, he said.

The 19-year-old has been dancing "since I could walk."

He competed in the men's fancy war dance category.

"I enjoy the dance style. It's fast and fancy; more contemporary," Ridgeway said.

The dance includes cartwheels, spins and splits and is one of the more athletic of the dances, he added.

Overall, there were more dancers this year, Peters said.

The community has its own drummers and dancers to showcase what can be done when people work together, he added.

"It's good for our kids to see what is totally supported by our community ... we're unique and special, but not better than anyone else," Peters said.

"As little as 60 years ago this (powwows) weren't encouraged or allowed," he added.

For those interested in sampling different foods, vendors didn't disappoint.

Offerings included corn soup, traditional First Nation tacos, scone dogs and hamburgs on fry bread.

A fresh squeezed lemonade stand was also kept busy quenching thirsty visitors throughout the hot and humid weekend.

Peters said he was also pleased to learn the progress of a "fitting memorial" to First Nations War of 1812 Chief Tecumseh.

An unveiling is planned on Oct. 5 beside the Tecumseh Monument on Longwoods Road, just east of Thamesville.

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