About 800 Greater Sudbury students gathered at the École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur field June 20 to take part in a traditional powwow in celebration of National Aboriginal Day.
National Aboriginal Day is celebrated annually on June 21. It is an occasion for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Ontario is home to more than 300,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, and the Aboriginal population is one of the fastest-growing and youngest demographics.
Students participating in the powwow represented Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario, Sudbury Catholic District School Board and Rainbow District School Board.
The event was organized by N’Swamakok Native Friendship Centre, and enabled participants to better appreciate and discover the culture of Canada’s Aboriginal people. After viewing the Grand Entry, students saw dancers in regalia, listened to honour songs and discovered the various components of a powwow. Drumming, dancing and Métis culture workshops were also be held.
“The pow wow was an amazing opportunity not only for my students but also for myself,” said Lynise Royer, a Grade 4 teacher at St. David School. “It was a beautiful day. Our students were extremely respectful and 100-per-cent engaged in the teachings.
“On behalf of the Sudbury Catholic Schools community, I would like to thank the
N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre, as well as Joel Agowissa and the four school board powwow committee members on a beautiful celebration of culture and identity. Their hard work and dedication is much appreciated by myself, the students and their families.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a news release that National Aboriginal Day is a unique opportunity to honour the cultures that are such a fundamental part of Ontario's history and the fabric of the province.
“Aboriginal youth are integral to Ontario's future,” she said. “We will ensure that all young people in this province have access to the same opportunities, no matter where they live. My government is committed to forging a better relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis people across Ontario. We will continue to prioritize a spirit of understanding and respect. We will send the message that Ontario values these friendships.”