Bob Mallory, Collection Manager, and Pat Aird, Algonquin Grandfather. (Submitted photo)

Heritage Village welcomes new Algonquin Grandfather

By Ann McIntyre

Posted on Thursday November 7, 2019

The Petawawa Heritage Village is very pleased to welcome Pat Aird as our Algonquin Grandfather in the capacity of Aboriginal Advisor and teacher. 

For his first event, the Petawawa Ramble,  he set up a wonderful display of regalia pieces.  Pat also brought along a donation of a jingle dress. 

The jingle dress is a First Nations woman’s pow wow regalia and dance. Also known as a prayer dress, it is considered to bring healing to those who are sick.

Made of cloth, the dress includes several rows of metal cones which are sewn across the dress on the skirt. Originally made of fabric in solid “healthy colours” - red, green/yellow, black and blue. The first jingles were made from tin can lids, rolled into cones. The cones on the donated dress date back to 1949.

The original dance was a snake-like pattern around the drum; her feet never cross, nor does she dance backwards or turn a complete circle.

Contemporary jingle dresses, introduced in the 1980s, are made from multi-coloured fabric with jingles. The contemporary dancer carries a feather fan, often wearing eagle plumes or feathers in her hair. Compared to the original dance, the contemporary dance can be fancier, with intricate footwork, and the dress design is often cut to accommodate these footwork maneuvres. Contemporary dancers do often cross their feet, turn full circles and dance backwards.

We are very excited that Pat will be available to expand our Aboriginal educational program for the students in local Renfrew County schools.