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Stephenville woman honoured to be head female dancer at Bay St. George Powwow

Sabrina Muise of Stephenville will be head female dancer at this weekend's Bay St. George powwow in Flat Bay.
Sabrina Muise of Stephenville will be head female dancer at this weekend's Bay St. George powwow in Flat Bay. - Frank Gale

For Sabrina Muise of Stephenville, being selected head female dancer at this year’s Bay St. George Powwow in Flat Bay this coming weekend is something she takes very seriously.

“It’s a privilege, an honour and a responsibility to be head dancer at this year’s powwow. A lot of my elders, aunties, uncles and traditional family have helped teach and prepare me to take on his cultural responsibility. It’s kind of like a way for me to honour them, and carry forward those good teachings” she said.

With the exception of the past four years when she was away studying at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., she ​has attended every powwow held in Flat Bay.

Muise grew up around Mi’kmaq culture her whole life and comes from a really strong traditional Mi’kmaq family with her mom, Shirley Muise, and the large Muise family very devoted to tradition.

“That in itself makes it a privilege to have such a strong tie to my culture,” she said.

The 22-year-old, who gained a Bachelor of Sciences in Ontario with a double major in geology and psychology, enjoys living at home in Stephenville and wants to find a job that keeps her in town.

In addition to working full time at Main Street Esso she has just taken on the position as the new youth representative for the Bay St. George Friendship Centre (formerly the Bay St. George Cultural Circle Centre) in St. George’s.

​As head dancer at the powwow she will be a role model for the youth, embodying the good teachings such as love, respect, and humility, and proper powwow dancing etiquette.

The responsibility involves her having to dance the whole three days of the powwow – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“This is really special because it’s on my home​​, Mi’kma’ki territory and ​I’m representing ​my people ​from this area. I’ll be wearing new ​fancy shawl regalia made by ​my local Mi’kmaq family, including Michelle Cormier, who crafted my dress and Phyllis Cooper my moccasins,” she said.

Muise said when she was younger she found that she was just living the teachings, but as an adult is learning there is more responsibility that goes with being an indigenous person, with more of a demand to explain what she had learned.

“I notice things a lot more now and I’m more able to pick up on the teachings and what people are saying,” she said.

Muise admitted that finding the right words to explain the culture are hard sometimes but continues to learn from her family and elders in the community.

She hoping that, through her education, she will be able to work with and benefit her traditional family.

This past weekend she attended the powwow in Conne River for the first time in a decade and said that was a great experience, especially ​reconnecting with family she hasn't seen in five years. She said that powwow is always great since the people there have such a spiritual connection to the land.

The head male dancer at the Bay St. George Powwow is Clint Jeddore of Conne River.

 

Bay St. George Powwow 2018 Schedule

Friday

1-1 p.m. – Social

1 p.m. – Open Drumming

2 p.m. – Teachings

4 p.m. – Family Activities

5 p.m. – Blanket Exercises

7 p.m. – Sweat Lodge

8:30 p.m. – Karaoke

Saturday

5:30 a.m. – Sunrise Ceremony

9 a.m. – Sweat Lodge

11 a.m. – Aboriginal Veteran Awards

12 p.m. – Grand Entry

4:45 p.m. – Retiring of the Flags

5 p.m. – Feast

6:30 p.m. – Outdoor Bingo

7 p.m. – Sweat Lodge

8:30 p.m. – Open Mic

Sunday

5:30 a.m. – Sunrise Ceremony

8 a.m. – Water Ceremony

9 a.m. – Mixed Sweat Lodge

12 p.m. – Grand Entry

4:15 p.m. – Giveaway

4:45 p.m. – Retiring of the Flags and Feast

Source:

Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Cultural Revival Committee

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