People from across Atlantic Canada gathered on Sunday for the third day of the Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation’s annual powwow at the Metepenagiag Heritage Park, located west of Miramichi.
Upwards of 250 attended Sunday’s events.
It is one of the first powwows to be held after the province dropped its COVID-19 restrictions. Powwows in New Brunswick were held this year but were still subject to some public health restrictions.
Kevin Levi, a Metepenagiag councillor and a powwow organizer, said the event has a rich history.
“The history of this powwow began in 1981 when George Paul brought the powwows back to Eastern Canada, and it has just spread out from here to our territory.”
Paul is an elder in the community who was instrumental in the powwow’s resurgence.
“It was lost for so long and then when they brought it back … people here almost equated it to almost voodoo. They didn’t understand what it was,” Levi said.
That gap was important to fill. “This is our way,” said Levi. “We need to reconnect to the past and bring back our culture.”
This resulted in members of the community learning from cultural caretakers in the West and bringing back the knowledge and customs to the Maritimes.
Powwows now bring together Indigenous communities with non-Indigenous people also invited.