This year’s Mattagami powwow honours the Elders

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A trio of eagles in flight greeted the seventh annual Mattagami First Nation Powwow August 19-20. Elder Mike Naveau pointed out that the three eagles had been over the community leading up to the gathering. Local members took it as a sign of good fortune as the eagle symbolizes strength and vision.

This year’s powwow was titled “Honouring Our Elders” and led by host drum Eagle River Singers of Barriere Lake First Nation; co-host drum Shining Water Singers of Georgina Island First Nation; and invited drum Thunder Creek of Timmins.

“Our annual powwow is an important way for us to connect our youth and our Elders together and remind all of us of our cultural past. I really enjoy our annual gathering and seeing my grandchildren and other youth dancing. It is important for us to acknowledge and recognize our past and to honour our Elders, who are our traditional knowledge keepers,” explained Mattagami Chief Chad Boissoneau.

Regional Ontario Chief Isadore Day appeared in full regalia as the head male dancer for the event. He was joined by his wife Angela Trudeau as the head female dancer. They are both of Serpent River FN and they attended the event with their children who also danced. Powwow Elders were Alex Jacobs and Agnes Naveau of Mattagami.

“It is a special honour for me and my family to be invited here to dance at this powwow. As Regional Chief of Ontario and as a former Chief of my community, I understand the importance of remembering and honouring our Elders as they hold the knowledge and wisdom of our people. Our annual powwows are also an important part of our communities as they bring together the ideas of culture, language, family and unity. It is a way for us to remember our heritage, honour our past and to celebrate who we are as a people,” said Day.

The event was coordinated by Dana McKenzie of Mattagami along with assistants Kiara Constant, Emily Ludebeck, Jason Therriault and Nolan Naveau. Councillor Jennifer Constant and Executive Director Juanita Luke also spearheaded support for the event.

“This year’s powwow was a great success as it brought together our community for a fun event to honour our Elders. They are the ones who kept our culture alive and it was their guidance and their life long sacrifices that allowed us to be who we are today,” said McKenzie.

Lead youth dancers were local community members Max Worme and Janelle Golinowski. Worme was honoured with a surprise gift of male dancer’s regalia presented to him by Chief Day during the event.

“I was surprised and honoured with this gift. My family and I are very grateful to Chief Day for providing me with such amazing regalia. It will definitely keep me dancing and hopefully encourage other young people to do the same,” commented Worme.

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