OHSWEKEN — After a two-year hiatus, the Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow was back in person, this time in a new location for the first time in the powwow’s history.
Thousands of people made their way onto the grounds, causing a significant traffic issue in the centre of Six Nations for hours Saturday afternoon, to watch the annual showcase of Indigenous dance styles and enjoy some delicious food and of course, shop at the beautiful vendor booths displaying gorgeous handcrafted Indigenous arts, crafts and handiwork.
What used to be held at Chiefswood Park was this year held at the Ohsweken Speedway because powwow organizers said they had outgrown their space at the park.
The new location was hard for some to get used to, with some complaints on social media about the lack of shade in the stifling heat.
Also, the gravel walkways proved difficult for those with mobility issues to navigate.
Powwow organizers did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Visitors were treated to a gorgeous visual display of stunning and highly-detailed regalia on every style of dancer, as head dancers Noodin Shawanda and Ashley Rave led the Grand Entry on Saturday, along with veterans carrying the eagle staff. The head veteran was Walker Stonefish of Walpole Island.
With each dance and age category came some prize money, too, ranging from $400 to $1,000.
This year’s Champion of Champions Powwow winner is Selese Syrette, Batchewana from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, for the Girls’ Jingle.
Held the fourth weekend every July since its inception in 1980, the powwow draws dancers from across North America to compete in various dance styles.