Friday 22 June 2012

Aboriginal Day in Comox Valley

Yesterday, after my Tarot sessions at the store, I ventured over to the K'ómoks First Nations Reservation to participate in the annual festivities surrounding Aboriginal Day.

There was a feast of salmon, bannock (a traditional fried bread prepared for special occasions), and buffalo burgers.  I arrived just in time to see a traditional performance put on by the Kumugwe dancers in the Big House (ceremonial house of First Nations).  Members of the dance troupe have been practicing and performing together since 2001.   The group takes great pride in preserving the ancient traditions of their ancestors and sharing in songs and dances of the K’ómoks and Kwakwaka’wakw peoples.  Additionally, sharing these traditions helps to facilitate respect and understanding within the local community and communities abroad.

I am particularly fond of experiencing new cultures and learning about their traditions and practices.  My favorite part of the evening was participating in the "friendship dance" with my friend, George.  We held our hands in a special traditional configuration and danced in a large circle, creating a bridge for each other and then going under it with our partners.  You can get an idea by this photo. 

My other favorite thing was the traditional dress worn by the Kumugwe dancers.  Their outfits, consisting of cone-shaped jingles, beads, animal hides and various other materials, are symbolic, intricate, and beautiful, in my opinion.  Out of respect for the people I chose not to take photos during the dances (except for the friendship dance), though you can see a a few of the outfits from the top photo.  The costumes, coupled with the sounds of the dancers as they moved about the Big House, truly delighted my soul.  

I arrived home in good spirits with a calm and peaceful heart.  I am so grateful to have an opportunity to experience and learn about the rich and ancient cultures of First Nations communities here on Vancouver Island.  Happy Aboriginal Day!

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