Dancers celebrate Native American traditions at the Metis of Maine Powwow in Dayton on Saturday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

Dancers celebrate Native American traditions at the Metis of Maine Powwow in Dayton on Saturday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

DAYTON  — The Metis Eastern Tribal Indian Society of Maine Annual Powwow on Saturday and Sunday brought people from all over Maine and beyond to celebrate Native American culture.

The Metis Eastern Tribal Indian Society of Maine, or Metis of Maine, is an organization of mixed blood Native Americans. Several years ago, the group was bestowed 12 acres and a farm house on Gould Road, and on Saturday and Sunday, members gathered for a powwow.

“It brings friends together,” said Grand Chief Bob Brawn of Limerick. “We dance, drum, and just have fun.”

Jewelry for sale at the Metis of Maine Powwow in Dayton on Saturday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

Jewelry for sale at the Metis of Maine Powwow in Dayton on Saturday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

One of the highlights Saturday was the dancing, which began with the Grand Entry. The crowd was asked to stand as Metis of Maine members in full regalia, carrying flags, slowly danced around the perimeter of the circle to traditional music, alternately tapping each foot two times, then gathered in the center as the singers and drummers continued.

Then all veterans, and those who wished to come and honor a veteran who had died or who couldn’t dance, were asked to join the circle in honor of those who had served.

Then the dance circle was open to everyone, and all were encouraged to join in.

Grand Council member Dwight Davis of Limerick was “smudging” people, or performing a cleansing ceremony with sage smoke, before they entered the dance circle.

Davis was also overseeing the sacred fire, making sure it stayed lit. “If it goes out, the powwow ends,” he said.

First Chief Doug Bourdoux of Hollis said there is always someone in charge of watching over the fire, and people take shifts so that it is staffed at all hours.

The powwow, in addition to dancing, included children’s activities, food, story-telling and educational displays.

Metis of Maine has more than 300 members, and Davis said those who join must prove Native American ancestry through genealogy records of DNA testing.

Many of the group’s members who participated in the powwow were also camping on site.

The August powwow is an annual tradition, as is a powwow in June. All are welcome to come and learn about Native American culture. People come from all over to attend the powwow, and Bourdoux said some German tourists came to the June powwow.

For more information on Metis of Maine, go to www.metisofmaine.org.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]


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