Northern College is preparing to host their 18th Annual Traditional Pow Wow this weekend. The event, which is free and open to everyone, will have music, dancing, laughing, learning and healing. The event is also celebrating something much bigger than all the elements it brings together.

“For us, as indigenous people, it’s a celebration of life.” said Joseph Nakogee, Pow Wow coordinator, “It is all about singing and dancing prayers to the Creator.”

The Pow Wow will feature a number of different dances and songs, all with their own special meaning. In fact, everything has a significant meaning at the Pow Wow, down to what the dancers wear. Nakogee says the dancing helps with indigenous healing in a powerful way.

“It’s almost like it wakes up our spirit,” said Nakogee,” and it helps us in our healing. There’s a lot of us out there who need this. So it’s one of the healing tools. One of the healing ceremonies we have is a Pow Wow. And everybody is invited.”

The theme for this year’s event is a special one too. It’s Bring our Children Home. Nakogee said the theme came about when a committee member brought up the fact that every year they focus on what’s happening in the news, and this year they wanted to turn the focus to indigenous children, subjects that rarely make headlines. Some indigenous children are part of the Children’s Aid Society, and others are in families struggling with their own issues. Some children are taken away, others are sent away from their communities to go down south.

“They lose their connection to their families, their communities and their culture,” said Nakogee. “So, as indigenous people, we want to bring them home. And we want them to grow up with their families, communities, and in their culture.”

Nakogee says the theme doesn’t just apply to youths.

“It could even apply to us. You know, there’s the little boy or girl inside us. We lost ourselves out there somewhere. So we’re bringing ourselves back into the culture, so we’re coming home. […] It all starts with our youth. And this year we’re going to honor them with a focus on them.”

There’s something special about this year’s Pow Wow for Nakogee: he’ll be experiencing it for the first time in years with his entire family.

“This is the first show where my family will be all together here, celebrating together. They’re going to come and dance. I’m going to show the community, family and friends, that my family is part of this healing as well. And it starts with our own culture, our own families and ourselves.”

One part of the ceremony has an especially powerful meaning for Nakogee.

“Hearing that drum. That drum represents the heartbeat of earth. And when I hear that drum, it hits my soul. It really emotionally affects me. And when I hear that drum it heals me. It’s a reminder of the God, our Creator here, is taking care of us. […] It’s like it’s cleansing our soul.”

This year’s Pow Wow is free and open to the public. Every year about 1,000 to 2,000 people come celebrate indigenous culture for the event. Attendees can enjoy more than 30 vendors who sell arts, crafts, moose hide mitts, tamarack birds, paintings and more. There are also information booth related to indigenous culture and history.

Things get started early on Saturday morning with a sunrise ceremony at 630 AM. This welcomes the new day and is when they light the sacred fire, which burns from the start of the Pow Wow until the end.

On Saturday, the official grand entry is at 12 PM. Then from 1-4 there are children’s crafts and activities in the lounge beside the gym. From 5-7 there is a $2 feast, and a fashion show will be happening during that time. Then from 7-9 there is another grand entry for the evening session.

On Sunday, there is another grand entry at 12 PM, followed by kid’s crafts and activities from 1-3. At 4 PM there is the closing ceremony.

There is free admission and free parking. There will be a free bus that travels to and from the event every half hour, on the opposite schedule as Timmins Transit.


The event welcomes everybody, as the whole community is invited to this special event celebrating indigenous culture and history.

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