Three Fires Pow Wow lights up Saturday morning

This coming weekend, Saturday, August 24 th and Sunday Aug. 25th, the Mississaugas of the New Credit proudly host the 27th Annual Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and traditional gathering at the New Credit Council Grounds located on 2789 Mississauga Road, Hagersville, Ontario, N0A 1H0.

Three Fires powwow guyThe very popular Three Fires Pow Wow is a bit different than the Champion of Champions Pow Wow hosted by the nearby Six Nations of the Grand River at the end of July. The first and maybe most important difference is that the Tree Fires Pow Wow is not a competition of traditional dancers. Instead it is a celebration of traditional dancing and culture. It is smaller than the Six Nations event but many Pow Wow goers find it to be more relaxed and friendly. There are many opportunities for the audience to participate in the circle with the dancers which makes it great fun for visitors and locals alike.

The annual celebration kicks off at 6:30 a.m. Saturday with a Sunrise Ceremony and the lighting of the three fires. Gate opens at 11 am. Who are the Mississaugas? There is a word in the Indian language “Missisakis” meaning “many river mouths”. By the mid nineteenth century the Mississaugas believed they had obtained their name from the mouths of the Trent, Moira, Shannon, Napanee, Kingston, and
Gananoque rivers.

The term New Credit is in recognition of the fact that the Mississaugas traded goods along the shore of the Credit River prior to the move to their new location in 1847. This First Nation was once a mighty and respected trading nation with the Europeans in and around an area which included Port Credit and the City now known as Toronto. The city of Mississauga owes its name to the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation is located on some 6100 acres 25 miles south of Hamilton, Ontario. They have approximately 2050 listed Ojibwe members with one third of them living on reserve.

This year’s Pow Wow theme is “Our Story Continues.” Attendees are invited to Lloyd S. King School located near the Pow Wow grounds to help celebrate their history and culture through a mural that walks the viewer through eons of time tracing the footsteps from creation to present day Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation community and even the future as foretold by the elders.

Pow Wow Etiquette

All guests, participants and visitors are expected to show proper Pow Wow etiquette and subscribe to the rules and protocol that the pow wow circuit follows. Heed what the Master of Ceremonies (MC) states during the Pow Wow.

If you see a dropped eagle feather, please inform the MC or Arena Director, please do not touch it, as a specific song will be sung to retrieve the fallen feather. Pictures during the Flag, Prayer, Honour Songs and when an individual is honouring a drum through a whistle – should not be taken.

Pictures are allowable during “intertribal” songs (everyone is also invited to dance). Tradition is to respect the chief, veterans and elders by giving them priority in all matters concerning etiquette.

Always ask for permission before making any recordings. Children are welcome to enjoy this event, but they cannot play in the Sacred Circle. Participants are asked to respect the arena director, head male dancer and head female dancer. Please respect the work of the Cultural Committee, volunteer’s and security personnel as their time is valuable.

Three Fires powwow girl

Please make sure to put all recyclables and garbage in appropriate containers. Guests are asked to stand and remove your hat for certain songs. You do not have to remove your hat if you have an eagle feather in it. Do not crowd around the drummers. A Friendly Reminder – All Pow Wow Festivals are Alcohol and Drug Free. No alcohol and drug use in the entire area of the Pow Wow and smoking is prohibited near the arena.

By Jim Windle

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