SHEGUIANDAH FIRST NATION—Only one phrase could capture the energy and excitement present in Sheguiandah First Nation for this past weekend’s winter festival—“Shtaa taa haa!”
Residents were invited to join in on three days of winter family fun for the 2019 Shtaa Taa Haa Days event at the community hall and outdoor rink, an event named after the Ojibwe expression meaning ‘wow’ or ‘awesome.’
“It was a really great weekend. It was so nice seeing so many people attend, especially the youth. We had many volunteers throughout the weekend,” said Valerie Assinewai, economic development officer at Sheguiandah First Nation.
The events included a potluck dinner, casino night, community breakfast, inflatables for the kiddies, a nail drive, log toss and log sawing competitions. Then came the main event: the G’Chi Anishinabek Team Challenge.
This event required teams of four people with at least one member shorter than five feet tall. Each member was given a unique task at the outdoor rink, including hauling water, snowshoeing, hair braiding and a special task for the short team member: “put baby to sleep.”
The smallest team member was the “baby” and the team had to lace up a moss bag (sleeping bags were provided) then put the baby inside—complete with their diaper.
The final step was for all team members to run and carry the baby to the finish line. If they dropped their baby they faced a five second time penalty.
It was tough competition but the team of Bradley (Timone) Shawanda, Tash Bebonang, Brittney Waindubence and Nova Waindubence emerged victorious with a time of three minutes and 23 seconds, plus one drop penalty.
“The Scone Babies” were the runners-up—Jessica Aguonie, Ogimaa Andrew Aguonie, Beth Miller and Giizhik Aguonie had a time of three minutes and 45 seconds, plus one drop penalty.
Back at the community hall there was a barefoot race, pudding eating contest, centipede race, tea boiling, a pizza party and prize bingo.
Sunday featured balloon shaving, a baby bottle contest, iron man challenge and laser tag at the rec centre. After lunch, the iron woman challenge took place.
Later into the afternoon there was a snowshoe race, three-legged race and slapshot competition at the outdoor rink. Then a cardboard sled race and wood piling event followed before dinner.
A celebratory spaghetti dinner and awards night began at 6 on Sunday evening where the winning G’Chi Anishinabek Team Challenge winners received their award.
Elder Norman Aguonie wrote an open letter to the Sheg Good Happenings Facebook page and thanked the cooks and volunteers for making the event enjoyable for all.
“It was a nice feeling to see such a large turnout and to feel all that good energy and a very positive healing atmosphere. This is the way our Anishinaabe communities used to be. We were all kind to each other,” he wrote.
“I really enjoyed the weekend and I hope we can continue to share our kind healing energy throughout the year, every year and not only on special occasions.”