PLEASANT POINT, Maine - The 43rd annual Indian Day Celebration begins next week at Indian Township near Princeton with the annual Warrior Canoe Run and ends at Pleasant Point.
It all begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, with the Morning Prayer for the warrior canoeists at the Indian Township Bridge on Route 1. The canoeists will leave the bridge at 8 a.m.
They are scheduled to arrive at Devils Head Park in Calais where they will camp for the night.
The canoeists will leave Devil’ s Head the next day. The warriors are expected to arrive at Split Rock at the Pleasant Point Reservation around 1 p.m. Chief Rick Phillips-Doyle of Pleasant Point will greet them. Their arrival officially kicks off the start of the celebration.
Also on Friday, one of the largest health fairs in Washington County will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Passamaquoddy Community Center. This is the health fair’ s sixth year. The public is invited.
On Saturday, there will be a Diabetes Health Walk at 10 a.m. at the Pleasant Point Health Center.
Children’ s games begin at noon Saturday at the Kcipeskiyak Ball Field. The Horseshoe Tournament at Split Rock will be held at the same time.
At 10 a.m. tours of the Waponahki Museum will begin, and at 12:30 p.m. there will be a “Medicine Program” at the museum with Fredda and Leslie Paul.
Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be canoe races at Split Rock after which sweat lodges for men and women will be available.
At dusk, there will be fireworks over Passamaquoddy Bay.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, the traditional dance and singing is planned at the ball diamond. Each year, tribal members from the very young to the very old perform their traditional dances.
More than 40 years ago, Passamaquoddy tribal elder Joseph “Cozy” Nicholas had a goal of creating a weekend of celebration.
Since then the Passamaquoddy have continued the tradition that Nicholas helped establish. Nicholas died earlier this month after a long battle with cancer.
This year, the Indian Day celebration is dedicated to Nicholas.
“Cozy loved his community, He was always there when you needed him, even in times that he did not feel so well,” the Indian Days program said. “We will miss him dearly. All of his time, energy and efforts to keep our ceremonial dances and songs alive will not be forgotten.”
It was Nicholas who established the museum on the reservation.
This year’ s Indian Day is also in honor of Donald Francis Sr. for his work on the Passamaquoddy language.
“He is the link between the past and the future,” the program said. “He has been a steady force in documenting and preserving the Passamaquoddy language since the early ‘ 70s.”