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Obushkudayang-Lake St. Martin First Nation brings Powwow back to Nation after 147 Years

Obushkudayang-Lake St. Martin First Nation brings Powwow back to Nation after 147 Years

Treaty 2 Territory – The last time a Powwow was held in Obushkudayang (Lake St. Martin First Nation) was in 1875; 147 years ago. That was – until this weekend. The sound of the beautiful drums, singing, jingles, bells and whistles retuned to Obushkudayang as they hosted a Powwow as part of their Treaty Celebrations. This

Treaty 2 Territory – The last time a Powwow was held in Obushkudayang (Lake St. Martin First Nation) was in 1875; 147 years ago.

That was – until this weekend. The sound of the beautiful drums, singing, jingles, bells and whistles retuned to Obushkudayang as they hosted a Powwow as part of their Treaty Celebrations.

This weekend marks 151 years since the making of Treaty 2 on August 21, 1871 at Manitoba Post and Obushkudayang ended their week of Treaty Celebrations with such a beautiful gathering and ceremony.

Obushkudayang citizens were displaced by flooding in 2011, and many couldn’t return home for nearly a decade.  For many citizens, there is hope that this weekend’s powwow brings much healing and a reconnection to traditional ways.

 

“This is a way of moving forward” Lake St. Martin First Nation Chief Christopher Traverse said. “It’s bringing awareness to our culture; it’s bringing awareness to our next generation youngsters.”

 

The province’s decision to flood Lake Manitoba during a 2011 historic flood resulted in hundreds of homes and cottages around the lake being damaged or destroyed completely. Obushkudayang was ordered to evacuate and its members were displaced, a situation that took a toll on them and that a provincial court has described as “palpable and tragic.” A number of citizens were lost after being displaced.

 

The Lake St. Martin First Nation continues to rebuild and the citizens are coming back home. Ogema Traverse is hopeful that the bringing back the powwow and hosting it annually, marks a new beginning.

 

The tradition ended for Obushkudayang in 1875 due to colonization as the citizens were forbidden to practice their cultural ways, Traverse said.

Ogema Traverse shared that there was an attempt to host a powwow in the 1960s, but church influence “shut it down as quick as it was set up”,” he said.

 

Ogema shared that there was some hesitancy in the nation until he spoke to church leaders and they gave their blessing to host the powwow.

 

Knowledge Keeper Florence Wood is a member of Obushkudayang; she sits on the Treaty 2 Territory Governments Knowledge Council, and Grandmother’s Council. She shared the powwow brings people together and opens a door for them to start reclaiming a connection to their roots.

“We have lost everything. We lost our culture, we lost our language, our way of life from before,” she said. “It’s up to us to go back, and find out what we lost.”

 

Organizer and volunteer Merv Sinclair shared with us that he feels blessed to see youth taking part and dancing. “What is happening today here is the beginning of a new life, a new way,” Sinclair said.

 

Pippy Pruden and Alainna Audy are from the neighbouring nation of Little Saskatchewan First Nation. The powwow was a sign of hope for the young ladies.

 

“It truly is an honour to be here,” shared Alainna. “It’s important for everyone to see that we are still here.”

 

“I want the younger generations to see that we’re dancing again, because a lot of us have lost our way of life. It’s nice for them to see and reconnect,” shared Pippy.

 

Our Government of First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory Congratulate the organizing committee for their incredible planning to make this dream a reality. We look forward to next year’s Powwow, and the years after. Obushkudayang is known for it’s strength, resilience, and determination. We commend all citizens for persevering through so many triumphs and tribulations, and still staying true to their roots.

 

Contributed By: Marlene Davis, Keeper – Moccasin Trail News

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