Lynda and George: Scenes from an Indigenous Wedding (Photos: Nigel Gordijk)

By Nigel Gordijk  Sunday, August 21, 2022

Shakespeare residents Lynda Marchand and George Chapman were married in a traditional Indigenous ceremony in New Hamburg on August 21. The pair have known each other for 30 years, but weren’t a couple for that entire time, and George proposed just six years ago. They invited about fifty friends from a wide cross-section of the community to join them as they celebrated their love. Here are some of the highlights from their day.

Fire keeper Ben Willsteed prepared and tended the sacred fire throughout the day. Before the wedding began, it was lit by the groom, using flint to indicate that he’s capable of looking after his family. At the end, the fire keeper added Indigenous medicines of Semah (tobacco), cedar and sage.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom shared their intentions. Lynda’s outfit was designed by Anishinaabe artist Joanne Jones from Mined reCREATIONS. The top has a single ribbon around it as a reminder for the bride to love and honour herself. Lynda’s skirt has three rows of ribbons, one for each decade that she and George have known each other.

Following the wedding service, drummers and singers took part in several song sessions throughout the afternoon.