Friday, August 19, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Pow Wow: feather pick up ceremony


The feathers that are on the clothes for the Pow Wow ceremonies are seen as sacred, they have a meaning for the tribe but also for the person. When they are stitched onto the clothes it is done with pride and humbleness, there is good care in the stitching of the feathers. There are not only being taken care of during the fabric process, it is also an on going care that is done before and after each ceremony. There is a story behind the eagle feathers and there symbolism in the First Nations culture. The story says that over two hundred years ago, when most of the tribes were still nomadic, two tribes were bitter enemies and always fighting. The war went on for days, the number of warriors were around a hundred on each side and dust made buy the horses and fighting could be seen from miles away, as many lives were taken. But druing one the invading parties a feather had fallen and was left behind, and only distinguished warriors had the right to wear eagle feathers, as each feather represented a life taken in battle. One of the warriors that was part on trhe pursuit party noticed the fallen feather and notified his chief who said that ' if these people are truly warriors and respect this feather, they will come back to retrieve it'. An ambushe was set up and the party wiated for the return of their enemies. The same night the ennemy came back, searching the ground and bushes for the fallen feather, but were captured, tied and blindfolded, as they were captured the ennmy began to sing their death song as they knew what awaited them. As they were taken to the village, the chief gave a feast and gifts to his captives and annouced: ' Even though we are bitter enemies, the respect and eaning of the eagle feather is the same. We are all taught by the same Great Spirit and should respect his teaching.' And the captives were returned to their villages safely with the following message.

When we went to see the Pow Wow that day during the traditional men's dance a fetaher fell from one of the men's fan. All of a sudden all the room was quite and, the singing and drums stopped, the dancers stopped, everytrhing was just silence. It was annouced and ask that all cameras and phones were turned of, that chlidren would remain still for the ceremony pick up. A feather that falls during a dance reprensents the fall of a warrior and should be honoured and picked through a special ceremony. Only veterants can perform the ceremony, four veterants to represent the four cardinal directions, dancing around the feather. The first two verses are to honour the Creator and the spirit of the fallen warrior. It is only after the sixth verse that the feather can be picked up by one of the veterants with his left hand. During all the ceremony everyone was standing up, silent and serious, letting the beat of the drums touch their soul, the beat was strong and deep, giving me goosebumps, the whole process felt sacred and filled with thousand of years of traditional knowledge and spirituality. Once the ceremony was finished the feather was returned to it's owner and theowner thanked the veterans for the ceremony. Feather are heavily symbolised, espcially eagle feather and should be taken care of, as well repcted. This ceremony was very spectacular to see and touching. The pow wow as whole was an amazing experience where were able to learn a lot from the First Nations traditions.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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