Regaling the World with her Dance
Representing her people at the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for this young Mi’kmaq woman. Savannah Simon’s story of dancing at the opening ceremonies at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was published in the December-January issue of Our Canada. Here are a few extra photos from her experience for you to enjoy!
“After praying and speaking with a close elder, I designed a pattern for my regalia (Native dancing outfit) to best describe the warrior that I am,” said Savannah. “I am 23, born into the Mi’kmaq Tribe, Wolf Clan, and speak the Mi’kmaq language. Being the daughter of a very strong-willed mother, Heather Heidi, and grandmother, Sarah, I have always considered myself a warrior.”
Having Fun in British Columbia
Savannah and other Aboriginal youth who participated in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies got to take part in other activities while in Vancouver.
“It was quite a sight to see 300 young people getting ready and supporting each other,” said Savannah.
“Before the performance we had a smudging ceremony,” said Savannah. “Smudging is the burning of sweetgrass or sage in a shell to create an incense for purification, healing and protection. We lined up in front of an elder from British Columbia who offered his smudge bowl so we could fan the smoke around our bodies from head to toe, praying silently to cleanse our minds, bodies and spirits.”
Representing their People
“It was exhilarating to meet fellow Native youth leaders who are doing big things in their communities,” said Savannah.
Savannah cherished the opportunity to learn a lot about and from neighbouring First Nation tribes, especially the Inuit who entertained everyone with their music and games.
A regalia is a Native dancing outfit that is usually designed to describe and show the dancer’s individuality. Savannah’s regalia (she is on the left) has Mi’kmaq hieroglyphics displaing the colours of the sun and reading “Love each other truly.”
“My regalia expresses that I am bright like the sun and I spread love to others when I dance,” said Savannah.