Pow Wow drums were beating once again in Montreal when the Native Friendship Centre held its 13th annual Native Cultural Festival at Vanier College on Oct. 1 and 2.

THE PURPOSE of the festival was to make known to the public the diversity and socio-cultural reality of native culture in the city and the province.

Saturday was reserved for the more contemporary beats (yes, you heard right, beats) of 7th Fire and other acts. 7th Fire is an Ottawa-based native group that fuses rock, blues, funk, reggae and Latin into a delectable musical stew.

Speaking of tasty stew… The cafeteria’s moose stew was worth the eight dollars of admission alone. More on that later.

Also on the bill with 7th Fire was Lloyd Cheechoo, a Cree singer from Moose Factory, Nina Segalowitz, an Inuk cellist from Fort Smith, NWT, Pinaskin, an Attikamekw rock band that hails from Manouane, and others you and I never heard of.

Also making an appearance at the festivities were prominent Crees, Romeo Saganash, Violet Pachanos, Roderick Pachano, Solomon Awashish, Steven Bearskin and ambassador Ted Moses, with his family in tow.

Surprisingly, two members of the Hell’s Angels also dropped by to check out the action.

The following day, dancers and drum groups from Ontario, the U.S. and Quebec gathered for a traditional Pow Wow. And what would a Pow Wow be without food, raffles and the exhibition and sale of arts and crafts?

One of the lucky winners of the raffle was The Nation’s own Alex Roslin. He won a painting to cover up one of the bare walls of his new pad.

The cafeteria had many offerings. Indian tacos, wild rice, bannock flavored with blueberries, salmon, beaver and other delicious treats. Proceeds from the festival will go towards funding for a new building to house the centre.

It’s a tired old cliche but I’ll put it to rest and say it anyway. A good time was had by all.