Oromocto First Nation powwow celebrates unity

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WATCH ABOVE: Oromocto First Nation hosted its second annual powwow celebration this weekend. Andrew Cromwell reports – Jul 23, 2017

Visitors from many cultures arrived in Oromocto this weekend for a celebration of nations coming together as one.

The Oromocto First Nation PowWow featured colourful regalia and traditional music as part of the festivities.

Elders described the powwow as a celebration of many things — including unity, culture, language, dance and friendship, just to name a few.

Most important, according to the community’s chief, is that all are welcome.

“We have friends’ days where kids bring a friend,” said Oromocto First Nation Chief Shelley Sabattis. “There are many people that live in our community, native and non-native, and we’re all equal.”

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The weekend powwow is the second in Oromocto after decades without one in the community.

Sabattis said the spark that revived it was the struggle to bring First Nations culture into the education system.

“We had a good rep on the district education council,” Sabattis explained. “We started teaching language and culture in the schools, and it just started developing into bigger, better things.”

The theme for the powwow this year was the turtle, after a turtle laid her eggs on sacred powwow grounds.

“We’re all kind of proud to each to do our part to protect the eggs and make it that we honour the turtles,” explained powwow organizer Allan Sabattis-Atwin.

WATCH: People of all ages come together in Oromocto on Remembrance Day

The key to the powwow, according to elders, is that the event emphasizes the spirit of unity.

“We want people to come and to show respect for everybody — [to] respect one another to be as one people,” said Maggie Paul, an elder with St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton.


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