National Indigenous People’s Day at La Maison amerindienne in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Qc

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Invitation to a celebration

I received a flyer through the mail from La Maison amérindienne in Mont-Saint-Hilaire. It was an invitation to a celebration, the “Grand rassemblement des coureurs des bois ” on June 24th. Coureurs des Bois? Essentially “Coureurs des bois” were itinerant, unlicensed fur traders of the “Nouvelle France” known as “wood-runners” to the English on Hudson Bay, and “bush-lopers” to the Anglo-Dutch of Albany New York.

The Program for June 24th

I headed for to the Fifth edition of the “Grand rassemblement des coureurs des bois”. It was a celebration that included the National Indigenous People’s Day and the Quebec Saint-Jean-Baptiste all rolled up in one. Nice. The program included the firing of an antique canon and guns, a historical talk about the wood-runners and the fur trade, a live show with the Buffalo Hat Singers, and Pow Wow Chants and dancers, wearing their awesome regalia.

Attending a live performance of this genre with genuine singers and dancers from Canada’s Indigenous people was a first for me. Each artist took the microphone before their performances and shared their testimony about their religion, history, past and present social issues, and racism. It was an intimate and emotional experience.

I want to add that the Buffalo Hat Singers gave a moving performance.

Photography

Almost all the photos were taken with the ambient light. As the dancers moved from the shade to the harsh sunlight, you need to constantly adjust your exposure compensation. It was inevitable to have some clipping in the highlights as I opted not to use my flash.

Enjoy.

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