Two powwows, one incredible day in Sioux Lookout

Four locally-based organizations are working together in preparation to promote and offer the community a full day of celebrations on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.

The Nishnawbe-Aski Gamik Friendship Centre (NGFC) is partnering with Tikinagan Child and Family Services to host a Mini Powwow at the Town Beach. The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Centre (SLMHC) is partnering with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) to host Anishinaabe Giizhigan Celebrations featuring powwow and special guests at the hospital grounds.

“We are thrilled to be hosting a Mini Powwow at the town beach,” said Ashley Edwards, NGFC Executive Director. “This scenic and spacious location provides the perfect backdrop for celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions. This event promises to be a joyous occasion, fostering unity and appreciation for the rich cultural tapestry of Indigenous peoples.”

Dean Osmond, SLMHC President and CEO, said the importance of hosting their annual event at the hospital provides a National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration that is fully accessible for in-patients and alternate level of care patients to participate in and enjoy the celebrations.

“It’s exciting to have the day full of events in Sioux Lookout for community members and visitors to celebrate together,” said Osmond. “The day is all about showcasing the diversity and richness of Indigenous history, culture, and contributions. We look forward to celebrating with the community.”

Sonia Isaac-Mann, SLFNHA CEO and President, said partnering with local organizations is not only important, but empowering.

“By coming together, we can honour and highlight the culture, traditions, and beauty within the Indigenous communities we serve,” said Isaac-Mann. “These collaborations amplify our shared commitment to recognition, respect, and unity, creating a vibrant and inclusive celebration that uplifts Indigenous peoples. I also want to acknowledge the traditional territory of Lac Seul First Nation, signatory to Treaty #3, on which we will celebrate and encourage everyone to take the time to learn about the culture and traditions in the Treaty lands on which we live.”

Edwards added that all four organizations encourage community members to check out both events and join in the festivities, embracing the vibrant heritage through dance, music, crafts, and food.

The four organizations are also planning to expand on National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Sioux Lookout next year, potentially offering children and family events, as well as cultural activities that will start in the morning and end in the evening.

The Mini Powwow at the town beach kicks off with a free breakfast at 10am at NGFC’s main hall, followed by the opening ceremony and opening drum at the Town Beach beginning at 11am. There will be a BBQ lunch at 12pm, ending with closing ceremonies at 4pm.

The Anishinaabe Giizhigan Celebrations at the hospital include lunch at 11:30am, followed by opening ceremonies at 12pm. Along with a powwow, the event will feature special guests, including Asham Stompers Jigging Group and comedian Native Pool Boy.