June 21, 2015 – Free Admission | 250 Fort York Boulevard | Grand Entry – 12 Noon
Native Men’s Residence Traditional Pow-Wow is held to recognize National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, the Summer Solstice. The event features traditional dancing, drumming, feast, giveaway, kids area, dozens of craft vendors, and Indigenous food. Seven Aboriginal drum groups will be on hand, including host drum Smoke Trail Singers and co-host drum Eagle Flight Singers. Over 100 traditional dancers are expected to participate including head dancers Stephanie Pangowish and Lee Benson. The Eagle Staff Carrier will be Bernard Nelson, Pow Wow Emcee is Bob Goulais, Arena Director is Earl Oegema. Elder Garry Sault will represent the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
The day begins with a sunrise ceremony and ends with a gala concert. The Pow Wow Grand Entry takes place at 12:00 noon, with traditional dancing and drumming until 4:30 pm, followed by a feast for all. The gala concert begins at 6:00 pm with award winning fingerstyle blues guitarist Cary Morin from Colorado “The Dylan of Durango”, and closes with the vibrant alternative funk/rock sound of Ghost Town Orchestra out of Brantford.
Presented in partnership by Na-Me-Res, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, and Fort York National Historic Site.
HOST DRUM: Smoke Trail Singers
Based out of Alderville First Nation in Ontario, the Smoke Trail Singers are a family drum group that have been performing together for over 30 years. Focusing mainly on Northern Traditional Pow Wow drumming, the group has been making the rounds on the Pow Wow trail, winning various awards for their performances and original compositions along the way.
Originally called the Rice Lake Singers, the group changed to reflect their family name Smoke. Today the group’s membership extends over generations and emphasizes the importance of educating young people in the traditional song and dance of their ancestors. Their 2010 album A Long Red Road featured time-honoured Straight Songs, using syllabic sounds instead of any traditional native language, and went on to win the 2010 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Award for Best Traditional Powwow. They have since released a follow-up album, A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That, consisting of live performances from the group. An inspiring family of music and song.
CO-HOST DRUM: Eagle Flight Singers
The Eagle Flight Singers will rouse the senses with their stirring traditional drum performances. Originally from London, Ontario the group has been playing together and touring internationally since 1993. Over the course of their career they have performed in such high-profile venues as Harbourfront Centre, the Verizon Centre in Washington, DC, and the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
With a firm belief in drumming as the heartbeat of First Nations, Eagle Flight have been prolific on the Pow-wow circuit in Canada and in the United States. The band features artists from across Canada, including seasoned drummers Darren McGregor and Gordon Nicotine-Sands – both of whom have taught drumming at Native Friendship Centres, performed for educational programs in schools, and volunteered with community groups across the country.
HEAD MALE DANCER: Lee Benson
Originating from the Chippewas of Rama First Nations, Lee Benson has performed as Head Dancer and Arena Director at dozens of Pow Wows across Ontario including the Curve Lake Pow Wow in Peterborough, the Rama First Nation Thanksgiving Pow Wow celebrations, and the Annual Great Lakes Pow Wow. He has also participated in educational programming, performing in schools and community centres to expose young people to First Nations culture.
HEAD FEMALE DANCER: Stephanie Pangowish
Stephanie Pangowish dances with the Smoke Trail Singers as well as independently at venues and Pow Wows across North America. As a First Nations performer her dancing has been a creative outlet and way of culturally connecting with the traditional practises of Ontario-based tribes. In addition to her creative work as a dancer, Pangowish is a paralegal who offer her services at the Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training Centre, as well as President of the Seneca College Indigenous Council.
Download Na-Me-Res Pow Wow Poster.
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This event originally appeared on City of Toronto.