Efforts combine to host fiddlers

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Margaret Jerome, president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, stands next to a banner for The Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60 in September. The Friendship Centre and the Hay River Metis Government Council has entered into a partnership to present the event.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Margaret Jerome, president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, stands next to a banner for The Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60 in September. The Friendship Centre and the Hay River Metis Government Council has entered into a partnership to present the event.

Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre now has a partner to help present The Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60.

On July 15, the Friendship Centre announced it has entered into an agreement with the Hay River Metis Government Council to stage the event which is set for Sept. 2 and 3.

“We’ve been talking about wanting to join with the Metis on the fiddling and jigging for the past couple of years, and we just never got around to do it,” said Margaret Jerome, the president of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre. “This year, we joined with them in the Aboriginal Day festivities that they had. And that’s where we started talking about wanting to do more stuff together. So that’s why we decided to do this.”
Jerome said the two organizations have decided that, instead of having two different fiddling events, it would be best for the community to have one big festivity.

The friendship centre started The Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60 in about 1999, and since then it has held the event most years.

Jerome said the friendship centre will still be taking the lead on the championship, adding that an employee has already begun working on advertising the event and contacting potential sponsors.

“What we’re asking from the Metis is just their assistance to sit on our committee, and whatever they need to do or we need to do so that we can work together,” she said.

There has as yet been no division of responsibilities between the two organizations.

Trevor Beck, president of the Hay River Metis Government Council, said the partnership is part of trying to bridge the gap between aboriginal groups and the community.

In fact, he noted the Metis council has already partnered with West Point First Nation on community wellness and would be willing to work with K’atlodeeche First Nation.

“The friendship centre is doing really good things over there and we share the same cultures in a lot of ways with the fiddling and the jigging in our culture,” said Beck.

The Metis president also said there is strength in numbers.

“So we’re trying to bring an event to the community that we can all be proud of,” he said. “It’s a good way for the Hay River Metis Government Council to work with somebody on it. They have some really positive people and positive things over there.”

Jerome said the partnership means the two organizations will work together to present the biggest fiddling and jigging competition in the North.

“Our hope is to get both the Metis and the friendship centre working together for the same purpose, which is for the people of Hay River,” she said.

Jerome added it will be a good way to showcase talent in Hay River and across the NWT.

As usual, it is also hoped the event will even attract performers from the south.

Paul Bickford