Sunday, 30 August 2015

End of Mourning Ceremony for Devon Allaire-Bell...a Haida tradition

  Wayne and Cynthia


This was the time to Celebrate End of Mourning for Devon Bell. Four years after Devon's murder, his ashes were brought home to Haida Gwaii to be buried in the place Wayne calls home. That has been done and after such a long wait...the End of Mourning takes place. A Celebration, for sure. I have been to many First Nations events and they all have their 'moments'. This one occurred during a series of four songs and dances performed by a group..and the third one was the most hhmmm...meaningful? deepest? mystical..that's it..mystical, I have ever witnessed. A dancer dressed in their colourful button robe, but with a head-dress of what seemed to be a plaster-of-Paris a very plain, stark white face and hair. The presenter moved across the front of the longhouse..almost standing straight, almost creeping...very very slowly and turning this way and that...slowly. It was a very strong, powerful performance. Just moving and twisting..looking right at you...looking at everyone..and not.  Towards the end of the dance..the dancer was raising their arms at the shoulder...and then dropping. It was the representation of Devon's spirit as it made it's last appearance and said good-bye.

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