Grandmother looking forward to spirit naming of granddaughter

Frank
Frank Gale
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Four-month-old Sydney Pearce, seen here with mom Kayla Miles Pearce, and grandmother Joanne Miles.

The Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Powwow has always been dear to the heart of Joanne Miles, but it promises to be extra special this year.

That’s because her four-month-old granddaughter Sydney Pearce, daughter of Kayla Miles Pearce and Stephen Pearce, will be receiving the spirit name White Fawn.

In aboriginal culture, a spirit name is normally given by a grandparent, usually the grandmother, but in some cases it is given by a community elder.

In this case, Miles chose the spirit name for her granddaughter, which she said came to her while recently doing a “sweat.”

“I had a strong thought, or maybe it was a spirit that came to me with the name,” she said.

Throughout the life of a native person, he or she could get several spirit names and this may be just the first for Sydney, said Miles. Often, as a native person comes into adolescence, they may go through a journey where that person sees a spirit or a name comes to them in some way.

As a person gets older it could happen again, she said, so in the course of a native’s lifetime they could take on two or three spirit names. She said a person often ends up keeping only their first spirit name throughout their life.

Miles received her spirit name, Grandmother Wolf, from an elder in the community. She said native names are based on animals that help the person through thier spirit journey.

During the naming ceremony — which takes place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. as part of the powwow events — White Fawn will also be presented her first regalia, as is typically done at these ceremony.

Sydney’s parents will do a sweat prior to Saturday morning’s ceremony.

Miles said she will be teaching her granddaughter the history and traditions of the Mi’kmaq in the area.

The 2014 Bay St. George Mi’Kmaq Powwow takes place until Sunday, and focuses this year on honouring veterans. It is organized by the Bay St. George Mi’Kmaq Cultural Revival Committee.

 

 

Powwow schedule

 

Thursday

7 p.m. - Bay St. George Cultural Centre, St. George's - an evening of drumming, singing and socializing.

 

Friday

3 p.m. - Traditional wedding ceremony followed by drumming and dancing in honour of the newlyweds.

5:30 p.m. - Enjoy an evening of teachings, sit, relax and learn about our Mi'kmaq Culture.

8 p.m. - Meet and greet social followed by karaoke.

 

Saturday

5 a.m. - Sunrise ceremony

10:30 a.m. - Traditional naming ceremony.

1 p.m. - Grand entry followed by dancing, drumming, prayers and socializing.

5 p.m. - Feast in honour of veterans.

6 p.m. - Retiring of the flags.

8 p.m. - Karaoke and storytelling.

 

Sunday

5 a.m. - Sunrise ceremony

9 a.m. - Women's sweat conducted by Maggie Paul.

12:30 p.m. - Grand entry.

4 p.m. - Dancing, drumming, candy dance and traditional giveaway.

5:30 p.m. - Retiring of the flags.

Source: Bay St. George Mi’Kmaq Cultural Revival Committee

Geographic location: Sydney, St. George's

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