Anyone who knows a little about me knows that I grew up in Naskapi reservation of Kawachikamach & the near-by mining town of Schefferville. I went to the Naskapi school and the community’s church on Sundays, and we didn’t move away until I was just about to enter college. But even though I’d spent most of my life there, I didn’t begin to appreciate the uniqueness of the Naskapi culture until I moved back in 2010 to teach at the Naskapi school. Especially in knowing about the reservation scene here in the south, and how Aboriginal people groups who are still fluent in their native language are so rare. The closeness of the community, the traditional methods of hunting and living, food, crafts, clothing; the way the Naskapi people still live is so unusual and special. I am incredibly grateful for the experiences I have had and for the opportunities to help in the community with my art. Eric and I are planning on going back up to stay with my parents in October for at least a few weeks, and we’re surprised by how much we’re both really looking forward to being back.
Anyways, recently the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe here in Eastern Connecticut hosted their annual Pow Wow event. The only Native dancing I’d ever seen before this was a few casual circles at feasts in Kawawachikamach, and once when two Native dancers came up to our school while I was teaching to do demonstrations in the classroom (which were spectacular!).
Even though this was my first Pow Wow it felt incredibly nostalgic for me. Young girls running around in beaded moccasins and elders with embroidered purses really made me miss the Naskapi people and the friendships I have 1200 miles north. It was beautiful and breathtaking though, to see so many colours and excitement and dances. We were there in the afternoon but I wish we could’ve stayed until the evening, when they had their competitive dancing. If you ever get the chance I strongly urge you to go to a Pow Wow.