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Smiths Falls Powwow Wins National Award
Community of Smiths Falls Wins National Marketing Award for Spirit of the Drum Powwow
Posted on 09/26/2017
Spirit of the Drum Organizers Accept Marketing Award

Role of Indigenous Partners Critical in Making Powwow a Reality

An educational powwow made possible through the help of First Nation partners has won Smiths Falls a National Marketing Award from the Economic Developers Association of Canada.

The community recently received an award for Best of the Best in the promotions category for the Spirit of the Drum Powwow, which took place in Smiths Falls on June 10-11. The educational powwow was a joint effort of Indigenous Studies classes at Smiths Falls and District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI), the community of Smiths Falls and area Indigenous communities.

“I’m just blown away by this award,” said SFDCI teacher Paul Merredew, a key organizer of the powwow with SFDCI teacher Blake Seward. “It was such a group effort in terms of the town and being able to make connections with the Indigenous communities to make it happen. There were all of these moving pieces. We were just fortunate our Indigenous partners helped us move things in the right direction.”

The purpose of the educational powwow was to share and celebrate Indigenous culture while building a spirit of reconciliation;  to support student learning about the history and culture of Indigenous people; and to connect with the school community. The school invited members of the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne to the event as well as Algonquins of the Pikwakanagan First Nation, who conducted the powwow on the school’s behalf. Other First Nation communities included the Shabot Obadjiwaan Algonquins, as well as participants from Oka, Mattawa and James Bay.

The powwow featured student displays providing biographical information on murdered or missing Indigenous women, Indigenous-inspired student art, as well as indigenous fare, traditional song, dance and drumming, as well as elders, veterans, and flag carriers, who bore the flags of First Nation communities during the opening and closing ceremonies.

Bill Montgomery, Indigenous Lead for the Upper Canada District School Board, praised the work of SFDCI in making the powwow a reality.

“The initiative and leadership that Mr. Merredew and his colleagues took in the organization and execution of this event is truly inspiring,” said Montgomery. “The creation of a safe space to welcome all to learn and share is the basis of our adopted mandate of achieving Reconciliation through education.” 

For more information, please call:

Marsha McNair
Smiths Falls and District Collegiate Institute

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