There are no wallflowers at a powwow

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A youngster dances at the opening day of the Panmure Island Pow Wow.

By Steve Sharratt

The Guardian

PANMURE ISLAND - It’s tough to be incognito at a powwow.

Nicholas Rusche and Catherine Beland discovered that here Saturday at the 22nd annual powwow when it was time for a circle dance.

That’s when those wearing native regalia choose someone to dance with who isn’t decked out in buckskins and beads. And that means being plucked from the audience.

“I have never danced before, but it was great fun,” said Rusche who hails from Germany.

He and his girlfriend Catherine Beland of Quebec were both whisked up from the audience to join in the round dance as the weekend powwow got underway here Saturday afternoon.

The eastern P.E.I. event goes all day Sunday with the Grand Entrance, dancing and drum circles, and a lobster dinner to end the evening. 

The celebration has attracted First Nations people from across North America and delivers a sea of colourful native regalia.

Dancers Denise John and Bert Milberg first met at a powwow and were married at one last year.

“She gave me tobacco as a peace offering,” said Milberg, who grew up in Manitoba and now lives in Halifax. “When I first saw her, I just sort of inhaled her.”

Honour dances for the earth and for veterans are part of the dancing ring and audience members are asked to join in as well. Panmure Island is about 20 minutes from Montague.

Organizations: First Nations

Geographic location: PANMURE ISLAND, Germany, Quebec Eastern P.E.I. North America Manitoba Halifax

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