Competition is an integral part of the Seabird Island Festival. But this year, for the festival’s 50th anniversary, that competition extended into a new field.
In addition to the soccer tournaments, three-pitch games and war canoe races, this year’s festival was also host to a powwow.
Divided into afternoon and evening events, the powwow featured dancers and drummers from around the province. More than a year and a half in the making, the powwow gave participants the opportunity to show their talent in a number of different categories, including jingle dress and dance dress.
But not everything about the powwow was competitive. The “Tiny Tots” and “Golden Age” divisions were for enjoyment only, although the kids in the “Tiny Tots” group went home with a coin as a thank you.
Including the powwow in the 50th anniversary of the festival had some historical significance as well.
In 1876, the Indian Act prohibited powwows and other kinds of traditional gatherings and it was only in 1951 that an amendment to the Indian Act allowed First Nations to continue their traditional ceremonies.
Less than 20 years after that amendment, Archie Charles began the first Seabird Island Festival, and now the powwow has returned as well.