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.