The 7th Annual Celebration of Nations started early today in downtown St. Catharines with Sunrise Ceremony led by Elder Allan Jamieson Sr.
The Sunrise Ceremony which took at the backyard of the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre, featured the Sacred Fire which will burn from dawn to dusk.
During the weekend events, the Sacred Fire will burn starting at 6:30 am – 8:30 pm each day. Fire Keepers watch over and take care of the Sacred Fire. It symbolises the rise of a new day and giving thanks for another day of life.
Elder Allan Jamieson Sr. reflected on the significance and teachings of the dawn ceremony. He noted it was commendable that the organizers included the Sunrise Ceremony as part of events of the celebration. He began the ceremony with the teaching on the significance of water. The Indigenous community value water, which has been used for various activities for thousands of years. “As we rise today we can all take a sip of water,” said Elder Jamieson.
He urged the attendees to think of special prayers, messages for family members and loved ones during the ceremony. The teaching also featured the significance of strawberry and wild blueberry. He noted that the Indigenous survived for a long time on strawberry, wild blueberry and maple sap. Attendees dropped the traditional tobacco leaf on the Sacred Fire saying prayers.
The weekend events of Celebration of Nations include Homelands, an immersive multimedia concert by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Procession of Nations, Medicine Wheel Bracelet Workshop, Teachings of the Medicine Wheel and Leather Drum Bag and Medicine Pouch Workshops.
The Celebration of Nations will round off on Sunday with performance by Tonemah, who has recorded 10 award-winning albums.