On Friday May 19th Parry Sound High School is hosting our Annual Pow wow. This year’s pow wow theme is Seven Generations, (Niizhwaaching Waa-Aanikesidooying Bmaadziwin). It’s about looking seven generations back and ahead. If we don’t look back we will make mistakes that happened in the past, and if we don’t look forward we will not make progress for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It is also about learning and how we are always no matter what age are learning.
We are happy to announce that this year it will be hosting it outside on the high school field (which is located behind the school by the bus loop)! This has been a dream of the youth at our high school for as long as the pow wow has been happening at the school. We are also very excited and honoured to have the great Ryan McMahon come to be our Master of Ceremonies this year. Our host drum is the Moose Bay Singers coming down from Nbising First Nation.
Same as years in the past the pow wow is organized and put together by students at the high school. A group of student’s come forward and volunteer to be our youth coordinators to organize and make sure the pow wow runs smoothly. This year Gracie Crafts (grade 12), Taylor Judge (grade 11), Isaiah Tabobondung (grade 10) and Dawson Bloor (grade 10) have stepped forward as the youth coordinators.
Gracie, Niizhogiiziskwe (two sun’s women) will be graduating this year. She is from Wasauksing First Nation. This is her second year as a youth coordinator. Throughout high school, she has been a head youth dancer, athlete and very active leader in the school. Taylor, Nanowaygahkekwe (the reconciler women) and is from Shawanaga First Nation. This she year went on the school trip to Europe in honour of the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. This is also her second year of being a youth coordinator. She has a lot of knowledge about traditional ways of life and is also someone that many student’s go to when they need a further understanding of any part of the pow wow. Isaiah is from Wasauksing First Nation and also participated in the Vimy trip this year. This is also his second year as a pow wow coordinator. He carries a lot of good knowledge about pow wow protocol. He is very well spoken and also very approachable. Dawson, Baabwaayidun has grown up helping with the pow wow on Wasauking and understands how everything should be done on the day of the pow wow. This is his first year in a coordinator role. He is very knowledgeable.
There are three mentee’s (Courtney Tabobondung (grade 9), Lucas Fraser (grade 9), Raiden Lamabe (grade 10) ) that were chosen by youth coordinators to shadow and assist with duties that these coordinators have taken on. Ms Johna Hupfield’s Indigenous Studies classes also help create the pow wow committee as part of their curriculum.
True to the origin of our pow wow, it is meant to share and celebrate our Ojibway culture with our school community and beyond. We work hard to learn about protocol and traditions of pow wow and emphasize that we are a learning environment.
With the pow wow being outside this year we have collaborated with many different groups and classes in our school to make it better than ever! As much as we’d like to serve our entire community, Mr Blair Cousins and his Hospitality classes are preparing and serving a limited feast which will be available to dancers/ drummers and special guests coming to the pow wow. CDL (Community Development and Leadership), a group in our school is doing a water walk the morning of the pow wow. The water from the walk will be filtered using the Out Trip Club’s water filters to serve to the drummers. As a part of ArtsFest and Pink Day this year at the high school, we had an art installation called the Unity Project. This was created by a number of different classes and will be re-used as part of our Pow Wow arbour, grand entry and dance arena.
This year we expect students from the surrounding feeder schools and some further high schools in our school board. We are excited to share our traditional knowledge and honour the First People of this land in this way.