By Adam Brazeau
AKWESASNE – Mark your calendars for an event that puts First Nations culture in full view. The Akwesasne International Pow-Wow is set to deliver a spectacular experience this Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.
“One focus of the event is to become a learning and teaching tool to the guests who come to Akwesasne,” said event co-chair Romaine Mitchell.
On top of the vast display of captivating traditional dances, costumes and foods from the Akwesasne communities, the Remesha Drum Group from Burundi, Africa will be performing.
“This year we have opened up the cultural events,” said Mitchell. “Go in and experience it, let the Pow-Wow unravel.”
The two-day event will take place at the A’nowara’ko:wa Arena on Cornwall Island, across the St. Lawrence River from Cornwall.
Mitchell said spectators should bring an empty stomach, because the tantalizing smells of homemade Native food will be in the air from several vendors.
“We have on-going demonstrations at our tipis,” said Mitchell.
Demonstrations include flint knapping, log pounding, basket making and cornhusk doll making. A variety of sculptors, stone carvers, beadwork artists, leather workers and graphic artists will also be in attendance.
The gates open at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and the ‘Grand Entry’ will kick-off both days at noon.
“Come early, it fills up fast,” said Mitchell.
The Pow-Wow co-chair expects over 10,000 spectators will visit the event as far as Kingston, Toronto, Alexandria, Ottawa, MTL, and the United States.
There are over 200 registered dancers from Akwesasne, reservations from Northern Quebec, British Columbia, New York and even California.
The Remesha Drum Group will be performing on Sat., Sept. 7, before Grand Entry at 11:30 a.m., and again at supper break at 5:00 p.m.
Hotinonshonni Cultural Youth Group will be performing Hoop Dancing before Grand Entry on Sun, Sept. 8, at 11:30 a.m.
General admission is $8 and $5 for children from six to 12. Seniors and children under the age of six get in for free. Two-day bracelets are available this year for $12.00.
All travellers entering Canada from the United States are required to report directly to the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) temporary border crossing in the city of Cornwall as required under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Customs Act. Once processed by CBSA travellers will be able to continue to their destination in the City of Cornwall or back to Cornwall Island.
Make sure to pick up an event program ($3) while you’re there to get a free pass to return over the bridge.