Gathering at The Rapids – Bawaating. The 13th Annual Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig Pow Wow

Grand Entry.13th Annual Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow. March 3, 2018.

The 13th Annual Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow: Celebrating Life Long Learning took place at the George Leach Centre (GLC), Algoma University /Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.

The two day event, hosted by the Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students Union, began on Saturday, March 3rd with Grand Entry, drawing hundreds of participants from across Turtle Island.

The Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association – SASA – is an organization run by students for students, and works to ensure that Anishinaabe students’ voices are recognized amongst the Algoma U community.

Master of ceremonies for the weekend-long celebration was Joel Syrette. Host drum was Whitefish Bay with Co-host drum, Bear Creek.  11 drum groups in total attended, including Great Lake Ramblers, Good Time Ojibway, Heron Bay, Matawa Drum, 15D First Nation, Great Bear Ramblers and more.

The head veteran, Walker Stonefish, is from Walpole Island.

Vendors and organizations contributed to the fulsome experience, surrounding the interior of the George Leach Centre with traditional crafts, literary works, and food.

The sweet smell of smudge from sacred and medicinal plants (cedar, tobacco, sage and sweetgrass) lifted spirits and invited intentional good thoughts for a meaningful weekend.

“We say miigwech to our Anishinaabe student council for bringing us all here today.” shared MC Joel Syrette. “A long time ago, the place we know as St. Mary’s Islands – the indigenous people called this our Whitefish Islands –  is where the treaties (Robinson) were signed and negotiations were made. It was the chiefs that carried the eagle staffs into the negotiations.”

Syrette  acknowledged the long standing history of the Metis Nation Council who were also part of Grand Entry.

“We have so many things as Anishinaabe people that we need to preserve – that we need to save – To keep our beautiful world views alive for future generations.” said Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana First Nation. “This is where your cultural understanding can expand and flourish as a result of speaking to the elders. Use this as a platform to grow as a person.”

To Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano, Chief Sayers said “We look forward to Bawaating becoming the official name of Sault Ste. Marie once again.”

The 13th annual Pow Wow continues Sunday, March 4th with Grand Entry taking place at noon. All are welcome to attend. Admission & parking  is free.

In 1991, Algoma University incorporated Shingwauk University, an independent Indigenous / Canadian cross-cultural educational institution. Shingwauk University is known as Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, and is inspired by Chief Shingwauk’s vision of blending traditional Indigenous knowledge with mainstream teachings. It is currently being developed by the Shingwauk Education Trust (SET), which is also based on Shingwauk’s vision. Shingwauk University is an institution that is accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), an internationally recognized organization.


  1. I should have pointed out that there are currently around fifty four thousand Indigenous university graduates across the country, two-thirds women, overwhelmingly urban, and perhaps 90 % from mainstream degree-level courses that”s around 48,000 in the 2016 Census, plus about 3,000 in 2016 and again in 2017. It”s puzzling why parity in graduate numbers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians isn”t one of the Closing the Gap” targets: perhaps the concept of Indigenous university graduate” is too new for policy-makers. Here”s another stat: Indigenous women are commencing university study at a slightly higher rate (for their respective populations) than NON-Indigenous Australian men. And another one: Indigenous graduates are 95 % likely to marry non-Indigenous graduate partners, and both working. They are very likely to ensure that their children go on to university study. And another one: in 2016, Indigenous university commencements rose by 12 % for most of the past ten years, the annual increase has been around 8 % yes, commencement numbers in award-level courses has risen from 3,139 in2006 to 6,715 in 2016, or 114 %. These are Ed. Dept figures, which may under-count Indigenous university numbers by as much as 30%, relative to Census figures. So why isn”t university participation one of the Closing the Gap” targets ?

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