Noah Hare (with the feathered head-piece) from the M’Chigeeng First Nation near Sudbury, danced in his regalia during the intertribal dance at the Saugeen First Nation #29’s annual competition powwow Aug. 11, 2018 in the Senior Dance event.
Saskia Rodenburg for Postmedia Network
The powwow at the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation Saturday and Sunday will be a celebration of native culture and of life itself, Mike Henry said.He’s a band councillor and organizer of the 48th annual powwow on the reserve located just east of Southampton. It’s a competition powwow, meaning dancers compete for cash prizes, in a variety of dance categories.The grand entries, when all the dancers join each other in the grassy arena, will be at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday and again at noon Sunday. Dancing and drumming follows throughout the day.The master of ceremonies plays an important role in announcing each dance before it begins and providing detail about what to notice about the dances and the dancers.Henry said attendance varies but there could be 200 to 500 dancers, including 20 or 30 from Saugeen, and many from elsewhere in Ontario and beyond, and six to eight drum groups.Henry estimated as many as 1,000 visitors attend each day. Everyone is welcome.This year’s powwow is being held in honour of the First Nation’s ancestral rights, a theme deemed appropriate, Henry said, in a year when a $90-billion Bruce Peninsula land claim and separate waterbed claim in the much larger traditional territory went to court.The land claim is based on an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Crown in its handling of former Saugeen Ojibwa lands since 1854, when Treaty 72 was signed and most of the peninsula was opened to non-aboriginal settlement.SON’s claim seeks the return of the approximately 10 per cent of land on the peninsula still owned by the Crown, including the national parks, all lake and rivers, road and shore allowances, and compensation for loss of use of the land and in lieu of privately held land. No private land is claimed.The second part of the claim, brought in 2003 and merged with the original 1994 peninsula claim, seeks aboriginal title to portions of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay waterbeds in the full traditional territory from Tobermory to Goderich to Collingwood.It includes no dry land, just the portions of waters offshore of those lands. No inland lakebeds or riverbeds in the SON traditional territory are claimed, other than some on the peninsula if they are Crown lands and subject to the Treaty 72 claim.Special dances in honour of the powwow’s ancestral rights theme will be announced periodically, Henry said.Most years the powwow also honours an individual or something else, on the Sunday afternoon.The powwow typically offers native foods, such as an “Indian taco” or beaver soup or burgers made of bison, Henry said. Henry has 12 food vendors coming this weekend and 25 to 30 crafts vendors, some with locally made, authentic native crafts.He said there will likely be soapstone carvings, leather masks and traditional porcupine-quill baskets, handmade with birch bark and sweetgrass. He said those baskets, which are labour-intensive to make, are “really quite magnificent”.Bring lawn chairs, sunblock and water, though drinks will be available at the event. Admission is by cash and a bank machine will be stationed at an entrance.Admission prices are $10 for anyone 13 years and up, $5 for anyone four to 12 years, free for ages three and younger.