Spirit of the Drum Powwow on Turtle Island June 8 & 9 - theHumm June 2019
Spirit of the Drum Powwow on Turtle Island June 8 & 9 - theHumm June 2019
Smiths Falls will be alive with Indigenous culture on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, when the town and Smiths Falls & District Collegiate Institute’s (SFDCI) Indigenous Studies Program partner with the Mohawks of Ahkwesasne First Nations and Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn and Kitigan Zibi First Nations to host the third annual Spirit of the Drum Traditional and Educational Powwow.
Two full days of activities are planned on Duck Island, running from 10am to 8pm on Saturday, and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday.
The Powwow will feature traditional Indigenous educational teachings, traditional singing, dancing and drumming by Host Drum Eagle River from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and co-host Drum Bear Nation as well as the Ottawa River Singers and Kitchissippi Rini. The emcee for the weekend will be Greg ‘Mista Wasis’ Dreaver, Mistawasis Nehiyawak, Treaty 6 Territory.
The Grand Entry ceremony will take place at 12pm both days, and there will be traditional educational teachings, food and craft vendors on-site both days. SFDCI hospitality students will prepare and serve a Grand Feast to the First Nations Powwow participants on Saturday. The two-day event is free to attend and veterans, Indigenous peoples and the public are welcome.
Traditional dancers will be the highlight of the event, and the Head Male and Female Dancers for 2019 are Awema Tendesi from Kitigan Zibi and Josée Bourgeois from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation.
“We’re thrilled to partner once again with SFDCI and First Nations’ representatives and community partners to host this annual event in Smiths Falls,” says Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development & Tourism for the town of Smiths Falls. “It’s important for the town to recognize Smiths Falls’ Indigenous heritage and the First Nations people who make up the community and surrounding area.”
The event is funded in part by the Government of Canada and was developed by the Indigenous Studies program with the objective of educating and sharing First Nations culture with youth and the community in the spirit of reconciliation. At least two educational seminars will be offered to the public during the afternoons, taught by Elders/Knowledge Keepers. Times are yet to be determined.
SFDCI Indigenous Studies teachers collectively explained the importance of studying the Indigenous history and honouring Indigenous traditions at ceremonial events like the Spirit of the Drum Powwow: “Reconciliation and youth are important themes for the municipality, to enable Indigenous Studies students and Indigenous youth to tell their own story about the history of Canada. Student’s projects from the high school will be on display in the Educational Gallery area of Duck Island, along with displays from various colleges that offer Indigenous Studies programs.”
Many students and residents in the Smiths Falls area share First Nations’ heritage, and the event will offer Indigenous youth and the public alike the opportunity to experience Indigenous culture. The Powwow is open to the public and will be a fun, free, and interactive way to celebrate and recognize Indigenous culture in the community.
SFDCI students have stated that the purpose of the Pow Wow: “is to bring people together; to connect the school with the community; and to share, teach, and celebrate Indigenous culture and traditions. SFDCI is within the Upper Canada District School Board spanning the traditional territories of the Algonquin and the Mohawk Nations.”
The event takes place on Duck Island in the middle of the Rideau Canal and Rideau River in downtown Smiths Falls. Free parking will be available in the RCAF parking lot off Abbott Street, at the Detached Lock, or at the Park Avenue beach area.
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