A Pow Wow can be a mix of spiritual ceremony and a stroll through a bazzar. There’s the food. A short sniff through the food grounds will leave your nose tingling. There’s salmon, caribou, moose, buffalo. (At one Pow Wow, a group of Hawaiian people had a whole pig in an earth oven.) There’s the merchandise. You can buy a Warrior flag they’ve somehow imbedded inside a bar of soap. I assume after about a hundred showers you get your very own flag. There’s also the competition. Traditional dancers, jingle dress, fancy, and the elite hoop dancers.
Over the years a loose Pow Wow trail has formed all the way towards the American southwest, up to Canada’s west coast and back here again. People meet for the first time. People who haven’t seen each other in years suddenly meet again. Some have changed, some have stayed the same. They smile, say hi and move on because they’ve just notived somebody else they haven’t seen in a while. It never stops.
The best part of any Pow Wow has to be the Grand Entry, when every dancer, young and old, male and female enter the dance circle together to a drumbeat. Usually elders, veterans and other dignitaries lead the parade and then the dancers. It’s the most emotional part of the show.
Unfortunately I missed the Grand Entry at Kahnawake’s Echoes of a Proud Nation Pow Wow. So the highlight of this year’s gathering had to be the caribou sausages, the very tost/ bison chili and of course the bannock smothered in a blueberry sauce, topped with whipped cream.