St. Mary’s First Nation hosts first ever New Year’s Eve powwow's Profile
When Ann Paul walked into the gymnasium at Chief Harold Sappier Memorial Elementary School in Fredericton for a New Year’s Eve powwow, the hairs on her arms and neck stood up.
The energy in the room was palpable, she said. She’d watched four generations of her community slowly revive their culture, starting with her own mother, Maggie Paul, and the New Year’s Eve powwow — the first ever for the community — was a testament to how far they’d come.
Her own children and grandchildren were in attendance that night, along with nearly 200 others, and her son Possesom Paul was the powwow’s master of ceremonies.
Although the powwow was held at a St. Mary’s First Nation (Sitansisk) elementary school, Paul said the event was open to people of all ages and places, including some who came from as far away as Boston.
Abigail Brooks and Bronson Acquin-Mandisodza of Sitansisk Wolastoqiyik organized the powwow, help by several volunteers.
Paul said they wanted to host a New Year’s event that wasn’t centred on alcohol. Powwows traditionally are alcohol-free events, Paul said, making this one a great attraction for families and children, who are sometimes left out of New Year’s events because of alcohol, she said.
When midnight came around, Paul said the party didn’t stop. People danced on until 1 a.m., and she said she was so excited she couldn’t fall asleep until close to 4 a.m.
The night was a celebration of identity, Paul said, and there was so much beauty that she wanted to share it with everybody.
“Everybody knows who they are. Everybody is starting to know who they are.”
Scroll through the photos and watch the video below to see some of the beauty Ann Paul wants to share.
WATCH| See how a powwow family dances and drums its way into a new year:
Dozens of people from across the Maritimes and Maine celebrated the start of 2023 together at the St. Mary’s First Nation (Sitansisk) powwow.