The theme of the annual Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow hosted by the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation is always “Our Story.”
That’s because their story is always worth telling, said Carolyn King, co-chair of the 26th annual powwow.
Showing a map of the original Mississaugas’ territory that covers most of what is now south-central Ontario – from Lake Erie in the south to Toronto and Orangeville in the north, and from London in the west to Niagara Falls in the east - King said it is her job for the New Credit council to promote their story and garner recognition for what used to be their land.
“Recognition goes a long way to deal with the hurts of the First Nations people,” she said.
Recently, King has started work with other native elders and scholars to develop an Ontario-wide marker program to bring more recognition to First Nations.
“You surely know the symbolism of the Inuksuk and its ties with northern First Nations,” she said. “We are working on making the moccasin the same type of cultural reference.”
King said a committee has been meeting with the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, which has one of the largest native moccasin collections, as well as the council of Chiefs of Ontario to get support to move forward with the moccasin project.
“The Chiefs passed a resolution that the moccasin would be the universal symbol for First Nations of Ontario,” she said. “As we move forward with the federal government and local proponents, we will look to them to support the placement of a moccasin marker to signify whose land it was originally.”
She said the project is not about land claims, but recognition for the past.
The moccasin identifiers that would be placed in key archaeological locations in Ontario would coincide with a curriculum program for local elementary school students to learn some of the history of the aboriginals in their area.
Eventually, she said the project could include the use of QR codes that are scannable by smart phones to link people to more information when they see a moccasin marker.
The pow wow was held both Saturday and Sunday with three grand entries and a number of competitions throughout the weekend. Vendors also filled the park in New Credit’s core area for the weekend.
King said on a good weekend – like the one they just had – the powwow can attract up to 1,500 guests, which is more than double the Mississaugas of the New Credit’s population of just over 700.