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Photo credits to Bill Beard
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Photo credits to Bill Beard
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‘Nurturing Our Roots’ Powwow

On September 25th, Niagara Regional Native Centre hosted their 3rd annual Powwow at their Niagara-on-the-Lake property on Airport Road. The ‘Nurturing Our Roots’ Powwow was aimed at honouring the Indigenous adoptees that were displaced over the last half century, bringing adoptees and their families together to garner the love and support of the Niagara and adjoining communities.

“In these times of healing (between Canadians and First Nations), coming together for gatherings like the NRNC Powwow are more important than ever.”

Powwows are community gatherings; where no direct translation of the word exists the closest English word would be ‘meeting’. Before Powwow became the popular term of reference these gatherings might have been called celebrations, doings, feasts, festivals or Indian dances and were opportunities for the community to come together to share, reconnect and meet new peoples. The Niagara Regional Native Centre Powwow remains authentic in it’s purpose of embracing the strengths of their community. Heading up the organization of the event Karl Dockstader reports utilizing the tremendous efforts of in excess of 30 dedicated volunteers and hundreds of hours of planning and preparation to bring the one day single Grand Entry Powwow to the Niagara community for all to enjoy.

Grand Entry, the official commencement of a Powwow event, began at noon with celebrations continuing until the flags were retired at 5 pm. MC Bob Goulais guided the traditional celebration through its schedule which included Arena Director Gary Parker and Head Elder James Shawana, Host Drum, ‘Little Creek’, sponsored by Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, invited Drum ‘Big Train’, ‘Mskwa Ziib’i as well as head dancers, male, female and youth. The ‘Strong Water Women’ enchanted the environment throughout the afternoon while children participated in traditional games. hoop dancers, butterfly dancers, jingle dress dancers, woodland dancers, grass dancers and traditional dancers of all ages shared their skills with a crowd in excess of 500 people. Vendors shared Indigenous crafts and supplies of dream catchers, necklaces, earrings, carved soapstone, abalone shells, beads and medicines and what Indigenous gathering would be complete without food? Several food vendors offered traditional fare of Indian tacos, three sisters soup, fry bread plus several other tasty options. Niagara Regional Native Centre’s Youth Program was able to take the opportunity to sell pop and water to raise funds so they could have outings~all youth are privileged to have supports to engage them in accountability and responsibility activities to teach them about the balance of give and take in the community.

As the truths and traumas of the historical events that have faced Indigenous communities, and the intergenerational effects of these traumas comes to the forefront of National attention it is more important than ever to bring the healing of these gatherings to the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

For more information on this story please contact Lenora Gilbert at lenora.hwc.nrnc@gmail.com. 

For more information about this Powwow and the history please visit: https://niagaraatlarge.com/2016/09/07/you-are-invited-to-third-annual-nurturing-our-roots-2016-nrnc-powwow/