|Wikwemikong Pow Wow on Manitoulin Island, Canada|
At Wikwemikong's annual Pow Wow in Canada it is time for the Grand Entry. The Grass dancers, as is customary, have prepared the arena with a vigorous foot-stomping dance. As we watch, men and women draw apart and wait silently.
The compelling voice of the drums and a wild, wailing song sets the procession in motion and they move, slowly, deliberately in the circle. As the solemn line, including flag-bearing veterans of World War 11 pass a man and woman in beads, leather and feathers, a fragrant herbal smoke rises from a hand-held sea shell. The mixture of sweet grass and sage smoulders. Smoke trickles upwards and is brushed towards individuals with a feathery bird’s wing.
Reaching a crescendo, the drums thunder. The lead singer’s voice soars heavenwards in a plaintive cry. Then, for a moment there is silence. Women, mesmerized, bob up and down. Long leather thongs decorated with beads sway in time to their movement. The rustle and muted jingle of silver cones whisper in the air.
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Tuesday, 14th February 2012