by Xavier Kataquapit
Mattagami FN – The Eagles were back overhead the Eighth Annual Mattagami First Nation Pow Wow, which took place on August 18 and 19 in the community. This tradition of the Eagles visiting seemed more important than ever as the Pow Wow was titled ‘Celebrating Our Land And Water’ and it was led by host drum High Ridge Singers, Moose Cree First Nation (FN) co-host drum Young Eagle Singers, North Bay and invited drum Northern Spirit Singers, Brunswick House FN.
“This is our day. The Pow Wow was the traditional way our people gathered in the past and we are happy to be presenting it now for the eighth year. I welcome all those who came to share this weekend with us and I give thanks to all those who worked so hard to make it happen,” explained Chief Chad Boissoneau.
There was an air of excitement and pride as the newly elected Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Walter Naveau returned home from his recent election success. Deputy Grand Chief Naveau is also a past Chief of Mattagami FN. There was an honour song dedicated to Deputy Grand Chief Naveau and also for reelected NAN Deputy Grand Chief Jason Smallboy, Moose Cree FN, who was also at the Pow Wow. Pow Wow Elders were Alex Jacobs and Clara Prince of Nipissing FN.
“It makes my heart feel good to be here today as your Deputy Grand Chief for NAN and I am happy to be seeing so many family and friends here this weekend. This Pow Wow is dedicated to the land and water and I have worked over the years and will continue to strive to keep our traditional values at the forefront as we move forward,” commented Deputy Grand Chief Naveau.
The two-day event was guided by MC Greg ‘Mista Wasis’ Dreaver, Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatchewan and Arena Director Gerald Chum, Moose Cree FN.
The Pow Wow fire was watched over by Pow Wow Fire Keeper Morrison Solomon, of Neyaashiinigmiing (Chippewas of Nawash) FN. Many local youths assisted with the event.
“I am finding it exciting to be at the Pow Wow and helping out. There are so many people here and a lot of good things happening this weekend,” said 14-year-old Kaleb Naveau.
Dana Cosgrove, a Mattagami FN member, and traditional dancer was the lead organizer of the event.
“I am so grateful for all the support and the assistance we get from our Chief and Council and the community. It feels great to see everyone viewing and participating in our traditional ways. I am also very proud of our young people who are beginning to dance,” said Cosgrove.
Theland Kicknosway, a hoop dancer thrilled everyone in an evening performance that featured glowing hoops.
Community members spent the day’s events visiting old and new friends while snacking from local vendors that sold traditional foods including moose and fish and modern treats such as funnel cake and ice cream. Vendors also included local artists and artisans who sold artwork and traditional crafts.
The first day of events also featured a morning breakfast and an afternoon feast which was organized by Tracy Harnack with volunteer family members and friends.