While colonization has made it harder to find, the heartbeat of Ojibway culture still beats strong. One of the best examples is through traditional Pow Wows where children, adults and elders all come together to celebrate and honour this culture. As soon as you step foot on the grounds, you'll see why EVERYONE needs to visit a Pow Wow in Sault Ste. Marie.
It's Open to Everyone
Whether you are Indigenous or not, everyone is welcome at a Pow Wow. Come with an open mind and heart and you'll be surprised how welcomed you are. Attendance by all is encouraged along with participation so bring your friends!
The Energy is Incredible
From the intensity of the drum beat to the passion in the dancing, the energy wash over you. You'll feel the drumbeat of Mother Nature as it resonates through your body. You'll be floored by the incredibly elegant motions of the Traditional, Grass, Fancy, and Jingle Dancers as their healing energy spreads throughout the arena. It won't take long until you can't stand still any longer. Trust me, you'll be out there for at least one intertribal song!
You'll Learn Something New
All you have to do is observe and listen. Whether it's the occasional Ojibway word, the songs being sung or an Ojibway teaching, you will leave with new knowledge. Our journey here on Earth is one of life-long learning and that's one of the cornerstones of Indigenous culture.
To Support Long-Standing Traditions
Ojibway traditions have been around for thousands of years with many events and obstacles attempting to eliminate them, even to this day. These traditions are sacred, beautiful and meant to be celebrated. Whether you are Indigenous or not, by attending you are supporting these traditions so they can withstand the test of time for years to come.
You're Supporting the Local Community
Indigenous traditions vary from coast to coast and while the differences may be subtle, they're still there. By buying items from the artisans, by indulging in the vendors' delicious meals, even by just attending a Pow Wow, you are showing your fellow men, women and children that you support their efforts. A community is always stronger together, so what better way than to show your neighbours support here in Sault Ste Marie?
To Meet New People
Even if you're a local from The Soo or you've travelled hours to visit, you'll always meet someone new at a Pow Wow. Whether you have a mutual friend or you're total strangers, you'll leave with a new friend and some great conversation.
You Never Know Where the Weekend Will Take You
Remember Jim Carrey in Yes Man? If you're going to say yes anywhere, it should be at a Pow Wow. Saying yes will ensure you have the greatest experience you can! Say yes to dancing, say yes to volunteering, say yes to new adventures. They may be outside your comfort zone but if you don't say yes, that zone will never get bigger. Plus what better way to learn than to fully immerse yourself in the traditions?!
For The Memories
Whether you are a first time Pow Wow attendee or a long time veteran, you will leave each Pow Wow with new memories you'll never forget. The connections you forge and the emotions you feel will never fade and can only grow stronger with each Pow Wow you attend.
You'll Gain A Deeper Appreciation for Ojibway Culture
As someone who has never attended a Pow Wow before and really knew little about Ojibway culture, the weekend absolutely blew me away. Your eyes will be opened through their traditions and it will give you not just a deeper understanding of them but of the importance of Ojibway culture.
It'll Make You Think
Indigenous or not, over the course of a Pow Wow weekend you will be challenged in a good way. You'll ask yourself hard questions. You'll listen to the elders and reflect on your beliefs. You may even open up and share something person you thought you never would. I'll be honest with you—your brain might hurt a bit by the end of it but trust me, it's a good thing.
While the 2018 Pow Wow season may have come to an end in Sault Ste. Marie, it won't be long until 2019 is upon us. Keep your ears open for information regarding the Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow hosted by Algoma University which will take place at the beginning of March. Next is the Garden River First Nation's Pow Wow in the middle of August, followed by the Batchewana First Nation's Pow Wow on the Labour Day weekend. If you know of any other Pow Wows close to Sault Ste. Marie, send an email and it can be added to this list.
Sault Ste. Marie has so much to offer that your visit shouldn't only be limited to a Pow Wow weekend. Extend your stay to fully take advantage of all the attractions the city has to offer!