Wendake: new site, new tastes and honouring traditions

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Steeve “Wadohandik” Gros-Louis, founder of the Wendat-Huron dance group Sandokwa and owner of Sagamité restaurant, stamps to the beat of the drums during an intertribal dance.

It was hard not to notice something different about the venue of the traditional dancing component of the Wendake Pow Wow last week.

In fact, “A month ago, the new celebratory site didn't exist,” revealed Grand Chief Konrad Sioui to the QCT. A ceremony was held to purify the site on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, with over 100 people in attendance.

Grand Chief Sioui explained the reason for the site change: “We’d had some criticism in the past about there being no shade, so… we investigated where else we could hold the Pow Wow.” In the past, the heart of the village had been considered as a site, but the outdoor stadium-like area was not suited to such an event. The new site, surrounded by trees and bordering the hiking trails overlooking the Saint-Charles river, is within walking distance of the majestic Kabir Kouba waterfalls.

Another new attraction in Wendake is 1760 Bistro, which, until recently, housed the Tourist Information Office. The latter has been moved to the Huron-Wendat Museum. The new restaurant has live music every Thursday night with bluesman Gilles Sioui as well as other young First Nations musicians. 

1760 Bistro also houses the office of the community's radio station which, as the Grand Chief explained, has “a new program… with spiritual, cultural and some political capacities [that touch on] real issues that are important to Wendat-Huron people and all First Nations.”

The sound of the Wendat-Huron language was rekindled during the Dancers' Grand Entrance on Saturday afternoon, when honorary 2016 Pow Wow female dancer Sabrina Godbout spoke a Wendat-Huron prayer. The full version of this prayer is recited in the longhouse at the Traditional Huron site Onhoüa Chetek8e. 

As infrastructures build up around Wendake to support tourism and help rejuvenate the Wendat-Huron culture and language, so too does the ability to create an ongoing income and sense of pride for the Nation. For more information about Wendake sights, tastes, traditions, as well as upcoming events, visit www.tourismewendake.ca/en.