Posts tagged ‘Pow-Wow’

An Invitation to our Pow-Wow family. Brampton’s first ever Indigenous Festival & Pow-Wow

More and more urban communities across Turtle Island are hosting traditional gatherings.  In the Greater Toronto Area, we’ve seen one-day gatherings spring up in Orangeville, Aurora and Pickering on top of the successful pow-wows put on by the Native Canadian Centre, Native Men’s Residence and Native Child & Family Services.

Now it’s Brampton’s turn.

The Oneida Circle is hosting the first annual Akweni Ki Indigenous Festival, on Saturday, September 24.  The festival includes their first ever traditional pow-wow and an evening gala featuring Anishinaabe recording artist Crystal Shawanda and Oji-Cree Miss Universe contestant Melinda Henderson.

This gathering is gaining a lot of momentum and excitement.  It is turning out to be the fall pow-wow that you just can’t miss.  I personally would like to invite all my pow-wow family…  all singers, dancers, hummers and limpers to add this to your calendar and plan on attending.

1st Annual Akweni Ki Traditional Pow-Wow

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Brampton Fairgrounds, 12942 Heart Lake Road, Caledon, ON

MC:  Bob Goulais
Arena Director:  Earl Oegema
Host Drum:  Black Bull Moose
Grand Entry:  Saturday, September 24 at 12 noon. 



Spiritual healing

By Dave Dale
The Nugget –
Sept. 6, 2010

Strong, positive spirits overcame the dreariness of chilly, wind-driven showers as Nipissing First Nation’s 22nd annual cultural gathering celebrated Mno Bemaadziwin — A Good Life on the weekend.

I was surprised how many dancers came up even though it was freezing,” Alysha Allaire, 20, said Sunday morning before heading out to the Jocko Point traditional grounds for the second grand entry.

Everybody came out for the love of dancing … that was really cool to see,” Allaire said, adding Saturday was special because she was dancing in her jingle dress for the first time after spending more than a month making it with her mom and aunts.

It felt really good,” she said, explaining how she dances in the jingle dress to help people heal.

People will offer her tobacco, a sacred medicine among Anishinabe, to dance for them or somebody they know who is sick or troubled.

And sometimes I just dance for the people I think need a bit of help or guidance,” said Allaire, a third-year Nipissing University concurrent education student.

She has been dancing for about 15 years and said she wants to be a teacher of students in grades 4 to 10.

Elder Peter Beaucage said there were strong winds blowing off Lake Nipissing during the sunrise ceremony Saturday and the rains came hard for a while, drenching the grounds and the people preparing for the event.

But the feeling was positive about the powwow bringing healing for the community,” Beaucage said.

The sacred pipe was lit and turned, he said, as prayers were sent to the grandfathers and the creator for the gratitude for the life we have as aboriginal people today.”

Beaucage was working in the community as a native alcohol and drug awareness counsellor when the first powwow was held at Beaucage Park in 1988.

It has come a long way and it really brings pride to our community,” he said, noting many leaders of other communities show their support by participating in the opening ceremonies.

Dignitaries joining Chief Marianna Couchie included West Nipissing Mayor Joanne Savage, North Bay Mayor Vic Fedeli, Nipissing MPP Monique Smith, Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota and Nipissing University president Lesley Lovett-Doust.

Beaucage said the powwow gathering grew out of the Elders Day celebrations after the youth cultural group brought dancing and drumming to the event.

Bob Goulais, who was 14 at the time, remembers being involved with the youth group when the powwow started.

He now works for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Toronto as manager of policy after working for the Union of Ontario Indians and the Anishinabek Nation for more than a decade.

Goulais was master of ceremonies for the powwow and sat beside Beaucage and arena director Dan Commanda.

He said many people come to the gathering because it helps them become strong and healthy, with the event’s popularity gauged by having 10 drums come from across the province.

Local drums Lightning, White Tail Cree and Ni p i s s i n g ‘s Little Iron Youth Drum shared arbour shade with the likes of Big Train of Six Nations, Eagle Village, Red Spirit of Toronto, Northern Medicine from James Bay and Bear Nation of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan.

A lot of people come here for the healing, it’s a pretty consistent reason why people come out,” Goulais said.

Mickey George, 12, has his own agenda when it comes to dancing in the traditional regalia of his people.

Because it’s fun to do,” George said after finishing a corn dog. He needed the energy for the next two songs that were sung specifically to showcase traditional dancers like himself.

It’s a good way to get in touch with my culture and it’s a great way to stay fit,” he said, with the intense beat of the

sneak up” song testing stamina and ability.

George, who has been dancing for about five years, said he tries to attend powwows whenever it fits into a busy schedule. He’s one of the AAA Peewee Trappers this season, with the team heading to Mississauga for its first tournament next weekend.

Other events during the powwow included an open mic talent night, hand drumming and flute in the evening, a feast and giveaway for the participants as it wrapped up Sunday afternoon.

Friendship Centres Are An Important Gathering Place

Today, several of my friends from the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) are visiting Parliament Hill today to talk to MPs about Friendship Centre programming.

In my opinion, Friendship Centres the most important gathering place and point of service for First Nations people living urban centres right across the country.

The North Bay Indian Friendship Centre is central to the urban First Nation community in the city of North Bay.  Over the years, I’ve also spent time in the N’swakamok Friendship Centre in Sudbury, Parry Sound Native Friendship Centre, Odawa Native Friendship Centre in Ottawa and the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre in Midland.

In the 90s, my partner Deborah ran the largest Friendship Centre in Canada, the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.  I’ve also been a guest at the Council Fire Native Friendship Centre also in Toronto.

Today, there are 115 Friendship Centres in communities right across Canada.

The Friendship Centre movement began in the 1950s, when more and more aboriginal people began to live in cities.  Each Friendship Centre has its own unique history with their own cast of characters, founding members, programs and many, many stories.  By the late 1960s, a growing number of agencies formed provincial and territorial associations.  The National Association of Friendship Centres was founded in 1972.

As a boy, I spent a lot of good times at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre.

My best memories were always the drum socials and mini pow-wows.  I was always amazed how many people could jam into that little building on Cassells Street.

Folks like Dan Commanda and Peter Beaucage honed their skills in the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, teaching pow-wow singing, dancing and regalia-making.  They became integral to cultural development in Nipissing in 1980s.  If it weren’t for the cultural programming at the Friendship Centre – there would be little to no cultural development and retention in my community.

I have a lot of great memories singing with Kirby Mianskum and his family.  For me, the Otterhead Singers was the best drum going.  That beat up old drum always sounded good.  I had a chance to sing with Chris Couchie, Gilbert Cheechoo, the Late Archie Cheechoo, Jimmy Dick and others.  Later on, I had the chance to sing with Kirby’s brother Lester Mianskum and the Medicine Hoop Singers.

At the Friendship Centre, I also had a chance to learn from guys like my uncles Jack Couchie and Larry McLeod, Ruth Couchie, Bill Butler and Barney Batisse – people I would later work alongside as an adult.

I also remember the soup.  I remember one time I brought my Mom for lunch one day.  I think she was mortified and thought I was taking her for lunch at the soup kitchen.  I was a big spender.

But the Friendship Centre was more than just a soup kitchen, craft shop and bingo hall.  It was far more than just inadequate office space.  (Remember the old house next door, the steep rickety stairs tot eh second floor offices?)  The Friendship Centre was a gathering place.

I remember how the drop-in centre was a gathering place.  Somewhere, where the Ojibway youth would integrate with the Cree youth and where everyone can feel welcome.

This was our neighbourhood.

I’m sure we made a fortune for the Tim Horton’s owners next door.  We continually frustrated Music City as there were a lot more browsers than buyers of their top-of-the-line guitars.  We ate as much Chinese food as we did fry bread and soup.  And the florists next door wouldn’t miss an opportunity to call the Mesa tow truck company on those who parked on their side of the line.

All these good memories and I didn’t even live in the city!  I live on the rez and made special trips into North Bay to hang with the Friendship Centre crowd.  I’d spend the night at my brother Andrew’s house and walk into town or take the city bus, the Pinewood route as I recall.

Friendship Centres are the most important service agency for aboriginal people in urban centres.  They play a valuable role in finding employment, access to government services, building individual and family capacity, providing health programs, youth programs and cultural programs.

They directly serve the most vulnerable aboriginal people including the homeless, those living on the streets, youth at risk to drugs and gangs, individuals dealing with addictions, single parents and aboriginal women.

But there is still a lot to be done for First Nations people living in urban centres across Canada.

Friendship Centres can do a lot more with increased and more sustainable funding.  It’s a fact that Friendship Centres across Canada have not seen a funding increase since 1996.

With sustainable funding, Friendship Centres can continue to provide necessary services for aboriginal people who live in the city.  They can continue to be the gathering place that’s so important to a community.  They can continue to provide lasting and formative memories for many other people living or just visiting the city.