This weekend the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) are celebrating 31 years of their Three Fires Annual Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering. 2017 also marks 170 years of the tribe being forced to relocate to the New Credit Reserve near Hagersville, Ontario from their ancestral Greater Toronto Area homeland which was originally located on the Credit River in 1847.
The New Credit are one of six Mississaugas subtribes of the Ojibway Nation (Anishinaabe) belonging to the Algonquian linguistic group. "Mississauga" is said to come from the Anishinaabe word Misi-zaagiing, which translates to "[Those at the] Great River-mouth" and it is also closely related to the Ojibwe word Misswezahging, “a river with many outlets.”
By the mid- nineteenth century, the Mississaugas believed they had obtained their name from the mouths of the Trent, Moira, Shannon, Napanee, Kingston, and Gananoque rivers. The term ‘New Credit’ is in reference to the relocation of the Credit River Mississaugas in 1847.
The Mississaugas traded goods with English fur traders who would extend credit to the tribe. The Mississaugas earned a reputation as a trustworthy people who would always pay back the fur traders the following spring.
MNCFN history recalls that the Ojibway occupied almost all of Southern Ontario in the mid-eighteenth century. Their ancestors were the stewards of a vast area of land from Long Point on Lake Erie to the headwaters of the Thames, Grand, Humber and Rouge Rivers.
Along with fighting battles for the British who ultimately betrayed their trust after the Battle of York in the War of 1812, the tribe unwittingly signed away the land they fought to protect. The MNCFN lost land that covers the most of the GTA over the course of controversial agreements and treaties resulting in the relocation to their reserve on the edge of the Six Nations.
“It’s been a struggle,” former MNCFN Chief Carolyn King told the Toronto Star last September. “We thought we had an agreement with the governments of the day. They thought they had an agreement with us. Both of us have lived a lie.”
Issues around the war and the contested Purchase were finally resolved somewhat between the tribe and federal government when a settlement was agreed in 2010 and the Governor-General.presented a War of 1812 medallion to the MNCFN as a thank you for their defense of Canada.
“It all starts from a basis of mutual incomprehension,” historian Donald Smith told the Globe and Mail in 2013. “The First Nations believed they were lending the use of their land. The newcomers felt it was an outright handover. The expectation was that these people would eventually disappear: They would either be brought into the larger society or perish.”
Two hundred years later the New Credit Mississaugas are still here and continue to thrive. They see their pow wow as integral to their survival for generations to come.[text_ad]“The pow wow is a place of culture and tradition, but it’s also a place of medicine and healing, and our communities have a lot of healing left to do,” MNCFN Chief Stacey LaForme told the Star.
The first Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering took place in 1987 with the assistance of former Chief King. Three sacred fires representing the Three Fires Confederacy (an age-old Anishinaabe alliance between Ojibway, Potawatomi, and Odawa tribes) were lit at the mouth of the Credit River and embers from each were taken to the New Credit Reserve in metal barrels.
For the MNCFN, the spirit of the fire still burns strong. Chief LaForme told the Star that whether it’s the suicide crisis in remote communities or missing and murdered indigenous women, maintaining the annual pow wow is an important step along the path of healing.
30th Annual Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow, New Credit, Ontario, Canada, August 27, 2016
Pow Wow Mississaugas New Credit First Nation
Pow Wow: New Credit First Nation, Hagersville/Brantford, ON, Canada
Here is a select list of pow wows happening across Turtle Island August 25th through August 27th:
Cha Cha Bah Ning 37th Annual Traditional Pow Wow, August 25-27
Earl Robinson Pow Wow Grounds
Leech Lake Indian Reservation
Inger, MN 56636
For more information visit the Leech Lake Reservation website.
Honoring Traditions 10th Annual Gathering and Pow Wow, August 25-27
Pala Band of Mission Indians Reservation
10779 Highway 76
Pala, CA 92059
For more information visit the Pala Band of Mission Indians website.
Muckleshoot Skopabsh Pow Wow, August 25-27
Muckleshoot Pow Wow Grounds
17500 SE 392nd Street
Auburn, WA 98092
For more information visit the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe website or Muckleshoot Skopabsh Powwow Facebook event page.
Gathering At The Falls 26th Anniversary Powwow, August 25-27
Riverfront Park - Lilac Bowl
507 N. Howard Street
Spokane, WA 99201
For more information visit the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow website or Facebook page.
Klamath Tribes 31st Annual Restoration Celebration, August 25-27
Chiloquin, OR 97624
For more information visit the Klamath Tribes website.
Three Fires 31st Annual Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering, August 26-27
New Credit Indian Reserve - Pow Wow Grounds
2789 Mississauga Road, R.R. # 6
Hagersville, ON N0A 1H0 CANADA
For more information visit the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow and Traditional Gathering website or Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Facebook page.
Check out our Pow Wow listings here (updates ongoing).
Attention Pow Wow organizers:
You can also update your information on our pow wow email list. By adding your email, you’ll enable us to contact you on select pow wow updates & announcements. We will only send a few emails each year, and it will only be used by our internal pow wow team. Add your email for the pow wow email list here: http://eepurl.com/bOY8ir
If you are not a pow wow organizer, please be sure to send them this article.
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