By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley

The Georgina Island Annual Traditional Pow Wow, held in Sutton on Sept 23 & 24, drew in hundreds of participants from both the local Georgina community and across Ontario.

“Pow Wows bring us together; they give us a chance to engage with one another, and celebrate our rich culture,” says Lauri Hoeg, who has been the Pow Wow coordinator since 2014.

“Everyone is welcome to join us in the dance. A Pow Wow isn’t a passive experience, it’s an immersive celebration where everyone is invited to actively engage and participate.”

“Pow Wows bring Nations of people together to connect with that beautiful heartbeat of Mother Earth and honour all of Creation.” 

Indeed, at this year’s gathering, many non-Indigenous people joined the circle, some wearing orange t-shirts as a symbol of their commitment to ensuring that Every Child Matters. 

Participants join the circle 
Lauri Hoeg, Pow Wow coordinator, and Susan Hoeg
Pow Wow dancers 
Sandy and Bruce
Jacob Charles with his son Trentyn

Jacob Charles, traditional drummer and singer, and the founder of First Nation Cultural Tours, has been participating in Pow Wows all his life.

“Drumming helps to find balance,” he shares, “and it’s a medicine which heals people. When I drum, sing, and dance during a pow wow I think about my ancestors, about changes which took place. At one point we were not allowed to celebrate our culture. It’s good that now we can do it without fear.” 

Charles took great pride in having his young son, Trentyn Charles, seated beside him, mirroring his father’s drumming, and singing with the same passion and talent.

“It means a lot to me that I can pass the teachings to my son, to the next generation,” says Charles.

“His name in Anishinaabe language means ‘Rippling Water.’ So, all I teach him will keep going on into the future, like ripple on water.” 

Pow Wows are not only about dance. Visitors also had an opportunity to savour traditional cuisine and show support for Indigenous-owned businesses offering stunning collections of artworks, beadwork, jewelry, and so much more. 

If you missed this year’s gathering, take a look at the photos on Facebook, and start planning for next September!