Whitefish River FN carnival celebrates Loving Our Language

SEE-SAW—Steve McGregor, left, keeps the log steady as Jeff McGregor vies for the fastest time in the log sawing competition as part of the week-long Whitefish River First Nation Winter Carnival.

WHITEFISH RIVER FIRST NATION—The 46th annual Whitefish River First Nation winter carnival took place with the theme Zaagaadonnaa Anishinaabemowin—Loving Our Language and there was plenty of laughter and good vibes to go round as the community came out in droves to take part in events.

The winter carnival was nearly a weeklong event, running from Tuesday, February 19 to Sunday, February 18. The fun began with family themed afternoon and evening events on Tuesday, including Scrabble and euchre tournaments. Wednesday’s events began with a 4 pm spaghetti dinner, a Super Smash Brothers tournament coinciding with an Anishinaabemowin poetry/paragraph contest and a cribbage tournament. Thursday it was Bannock and Babies at the Seven Fires Centre, a skating party at the outdoor rink and a chance to learn Ojibway syllabics in the band council chambers.

Friday things really started to heat up with a day of fun and winter games at Shawanosowe School followed by a community dinner and dance and the royal court pageant in the community centre.

Before the spirit plate was carried out to the sacred fire, the new term of band chief and council were sworn in. This is the first time the chief and council were elected under the auspices of the Whitefish River First Nation custom election code and the chief and seven councillors recited and signed their oath of office. The new council includes incumbent Ogimaa Shining Turtle and councillors Esther Osche, Dave Shawanda, Cara (Caralyn) McGregor, Leona Nahwegahbow, Todd McGregor, Brian McGregor and Francis Eugene McGregor.

The community drum provided an honour song.

Following dinner, the new royal court for this year’s winter carnival were chosen. They included Grand King, Eli Paibomsai; Grand Queen, Ava Owl; Princess, Aurora Megwanabe; King, Carter McGregor; Prince, Tecumseh Paibomsai; Junior Prince, Noah Shawanda; Queen, K.C. Migwanabi; and Junior Princess, Violet Sutherland.

Friday evening concluded with a Texas Holdem poker tournament.

Over the course of the weekend there were plenty of fun and games, including a chance to take some hockey shots at Ogimaa Shining Turtle and traditional winter carnival fun such as log sawing, tea boiling, plank races, snowshoe races and even the traditional Anishinaabe snow snake game. The weather cooperated to provide a warm and pleasant atmosphere.