This summer in August Peter and me took a little mini holiday and went up to Manitoulin Island to attend the annual Pow Wow on Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.
We had a wonderful time and also met a few dancers, that we know from Pow Wows in our area. It is always surprising to see, how many folks follow “the Pow Wow trail” from one event to the other and dance every weekend.
Writing this I suspect you guys want to see some pictures!??!
Of course I also wanted to see the vendors that were set up just outside the dance grounds, I was secretly hoping to maybe find and “adopt a special treasure as a memento of out trip,
What however surprised me is, that up here in spite of all the galleries advertising Native art and handiwork what we found was rather dismal, cheaply made – but not by any First nations people from this continent. Colourful Chinese Chicken feathers and plastic beads everywhere.
Dream catchers from China – or the Dollar store – or both….. 😦
Other things made of Moose or Deer hide but crudely glued together with a glue gun and adorned with plastic beads and said Chicken feathers…….
Tacky velvet pictures of the stereotypical Indian on a Horse brandishing a spear towards the sunset…..
Where IS all the good stuff??????
What will the small kids growing up now on the res think of as their art and artistic expression, when all they see at their cultural events is this?
OK, there was a Caucasian guy selling the big Navajo jewellery with Turquoise cabochon – VERY expensive….
And I can not count how often I was asked or commented or complemented on the Wolf pin and earrings I wore – which of course Peter had made. I passed out all our Bearpaw Jewellery business cards.
So, in the end, what did I buy?
My heart cramps up in sorrowful pain as I am writing this down…..
There was a fur trader from Alberta. He had strung up in his tent – among many other pelts, 2 Wolves. A black male – Huuuuge! And an almost white female – beautiful…….
Standing in front of her, my heart pounded loudly and I was transfixed…….
I asked about her.
The story is not pretty:
……Alberta Wolf cull…..
…..South of Slave Lake….
…..She was shot in the face.
I need not say more- I hope……
There as a gentleman from England, who has a cottage somewhere here and was looking for a wall decoration, eyeing her and an Arctic Fox pelt…….
Peter wordlessly gave the trader $ 600,00 and then we smudged her.
What will I do with her?
How will I somehow craft her ruined face back together?
Today, a month later, I still do not know…….
But I visit her, talk to her … and now I am crying into the keyboard……
…..for all the cups she should have had…..
…..for all the Wolves…..