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Pow-wow 2018

 

In 1998, nearly twenty years ago, the association four winds, the purpose of which is to make known and recognized the First Peoples of the Americas, decided to organize a Pow-wow.

The Pow-wow takes its roots among the Pawnee Indians, more than 2 centuries ago. The warriors met together to dance and celebrate their achievements and their good fortune. This custom spread to other Native American nations and little by little transformed into a large family meeting which gave the entire tribe the opportunity to meet, dance, sing, renew old friendships and to create new ones. The Pow-wows of today are usually « intertribal ». They offer the opportunity to organize dance competitions or trade fairs of traditional crafts. They have become one of the main means of expression of the Native American identity and the safeguard of their cultures.

In 2018 the 10th Pow-wow will be held in the town of Ornans. For this 10th edition, which will celebrate it 20 years of existence, important dates to remember are June 29 and 30, 1 July.

A bit of history: Most of us know the « Indians » from the films or television series produced by Hollywood. The producers, have for years, perpetuated discriminatory stereotypes on a period of some fifty years of the history of the Native Americans. But how did they live before, and what have they become today? We hardly ever hear a native person tell their own story. Even in the best films (Thunderheart, Dances with Wolves, Broken Arrow) there is always a white man who tells the story.

Thanks to the Pow-wow, Four Winds and Ornans intend to inform a wider public on the indigenous people’s reality by giving the floor to the Native Americans. It belongs to them, and to them only, to educate us about their history, which today includes their reconstruction. A reconstruction for which they must fight on many fronts, beginning by the conservation of their traditional values, major foundations of their societies.

 

A few words on the 2018 edition. Since its origin, it has been customary to invite little or unknown nations or groups of individuals. The « Huichol » and their fire ceremony, and the « Gans » (Apaches) and their sacred dances will be remembered by those who had the chance, and the pleasure, to attend their performances. There are multiple opportunities available to us and choosing has been difficult.

 

For the 2018 edition we decided to give time to two major groups: the nations of Quebec: These are the first inhabitants of the province of Quebec in Canada. They consist of ten distinct nations by ethnicity, language, culture and history. These nations are divided in 55 communities with population of a little more than 50,000 peoples, or 1% of the total population of the province. The Quebec Native people are politically and collectively represented by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL). Fisherman, then settlers, merchants and French missionaries were the first Europeans who maintained regular contact with the Native peoples living in what today is called Quebec. Very quickly the French and indigenous peoples had established complex relationships of interdependencies. France saw allies in the indigenous nations which it counted on for the survival of its settlers and the prosperity of the fur trade. Indigenous peoples traded, established military alliances and married with the French. The diplomatic relations between the French and the First Peoples of Canada ceased in 1763 (Treaty of Paris) with the transfer of New France to Great Britain. Nevertheless, the social and economic interactions continued within the country.

The nations of French Guiana: native peoples, present for millennia, in French Guiana represent less than 5% of the population of French Guiana. They are divided into 6 ethnic groups. In 1624 the early French settlers arrived. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, French Guiana knew a very prosperous period due to slavery. It was in 1854, that Napoleon III built the famous prison of Cayenne. The Municipality of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni became the administrative centre of the penal system, to which nearly 90 000 men and 2 000 women were sent, of which more than a third died in French Guiana. At the beginning of the last century the gold rush decimated the native population. In 1946, French Guiana obtained the status of French department, but the territory has economic difficulties and the Native Americans (French nationals) survive in general indifference. Victims of gold panning, mercury poisoning and laws unsuitable to their realities, they are asking today that their rights are respected in the same way as other citizens of the country.