OHSWEKEN — No, they were not kicked out of Chiefswood Park.
This from Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow Committee member Charlene Bomberry Tuesday evening, who appeared during SNGRs General Council livestream via Zoom.
Bomberry addressed misinformation that was published alleging the pow wow committee was asked not to hold the annual pow wow at Chiefswood Park, where the event has been held for the last 40 years.
“Unfortunately, misinformation was given and I just want to clarify that yes we did move to the speedway and that is where the pow wow will be held this year and in the future. I just want to make sure that everyone knows that the pow wow did not get kicked out of the park, as was reported to council,” said Bomberry. “We did not get kicked out.”
Bomberry clarified that Chiefswood Park has gone through changes to its layout that have reduced the available space for attendees. Cabins at the hilltop portion of the park and new glamping huts have been placed where visitors normally would park, creating a reduced capacity for both guest and vendor/dancer parking.
Bomberry said that council was also concerned about traffic control for the event, which draws close to 20,000 people daily to Six Nations. She said that the move to the Ohsweken Speedway this year will also reduce traffic congestion and that the pow wow committee are working with Six Nations Police to ease traffic issues.
There is a race scheduled at the Ohsweken Speedway on Friday night ahead of the pow wow but Bomberry said that the pow wow committee is prepared to have things ready for dancers and visitors on Saturday morning.
“We will have an area set aside for seniors and handicapped seating ready,” said Bomberry. That area will be under a canopy and water will be available for elders as well.
The departure is bittersweet and Bomberry said it was a hard decision to make, but says that the opportunity provided by Glenn Styres to use the Ohsweken Speedway space for the pow wow is also an exciting opportunity for the event that has grown exponentially in the last few years.
This will be the first post-COVID pow wow for Six Nations since the global pandemic began and Six Nations declared a state of emergency.
The Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow will be held at the Ohsweken Speedway, 1987 Chiefswood Road on Six Nations July 23-24.