Dancers performed the grass dance during the powwow at the Shaw Center on March 25. Photo credit: Itunu Olayiwola

The Odawa Native Friendship Centre hosted its annual Children and Youth Pow Wow on March 25 at the Shaw Centre.

The event began with a grand opening of elders starting the dance at noon along with veterans performing their traditional dance before other dancers took their turn to participate in the dance.

Traditional instruments and dresses were showcased at booths to remind many of how things were exchanged during the earlier years before the concept of money was introduced.

One of the event’s attendees was Randy Kakegamick, an Algonquin College television and broadcasting student. Kakegamick has been attending powwows since birth.

“I was at the powwow singing,” he said. “This is an ongoing thing for me. It is a part of my life, it is a healing tool.”

Bob Crane, a Blackfoot veteran explains that the jingle dresses worn were invented less than a hundred years ago.

”A gentleman’s granddaughter was dying and he had a dream that if in the dream he was told, if he made a dress like that, she would heal. So he did and the granddaughter was healed,” explained Crane. “And so jingle dress dancers are highly, highly regarded because there’s no better, health dance. So whenever anybody has to heal, whether it’s mental or physical, you’ll always see jingle dress dancers.”

Additional Information and sources were provided by booths that had collaborated with the ceremony to those who needed help with housing, health care, daycare services and many more.

Some of these booths included, the Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation responsible for subsiding housing, the Inuuqatigiit, a centre for Inuit children, youth, and families and Ottawa Public Health.

Crane explains that traditional dances are taught to the children at a young age, and all are welcomed to learn about their culture and history.

“We are unique,” said Crane. “We are constantly battling to make the government and Indigenous people recognize that.”