The Odawa Native Friendship Centre held their 28th annual pow wow in Nepean, Ontario, May 28-30. Pow wow is a time for people to gather and celebrate mother nature for all her wonderful blessings. It’s a time for everyone to get together, relax and enjoy themselves. It’s also a time to renew old friendships or make new ones.

It was a beautiful day to start off with until the early evening when the temperature went down suddenly, and I was forced to buy a sweater to keep warm from the chilly winds.

I arrived at the pow wow early hoping to taste some good bush food, only to find out the food vendors were just setting up their gear, and meals were not to be served until around later that evening. I found out I wouldn’t be having my moose burger until Saturday the next day so I settled for a buffalo burger instead.

There were five food vendors serving everything from Indian tacos to moose and buffalo burgers, everyone was lining up for the blueberry-topped Ojibway desserts. There were always line ups until sundown, and the next day I was up early because Saturday is usually a good day for a pow wow. After I got a lift from the friendship centre shuttle bus to the pow wow site that morning, the first thing I noticed were two non-natives who got on at the same time offering their services as volunteers.

I guess that’s what Elijah Harper was talking about later that day. He said he was happy the pow wow is getting bigger every year, it’s not only important for native people but that we should reach out to other communities and to the world, that’s what pow wow’s are all about. There were more than a 100 registered dancers from all over the U.S. and Canada and probably close to 10 drum groups. Wasaskun from the Waswanipi Drum group was also present, as were the Bear Creek drummers.

The first grand entry was right at noon followed by the Inter-Tribal dancing. Around 3 pm the Children’s Exhibition and Competition Dancing began. The crowds were especially enjoying the tiny tot exhibition for kids 1-6 years old. Competitions were just spectacular and the jingle dress dancers were just awesome to watch. They were dancing around like butterflies in the arena.

The most enjoyed by the spectators was the hoop dancing. The skill and movement performed by the dancers was very graceful, there were a lot of photographs taken at this time. The regalia came in so many different colours, like a rainbow.

On Sunday, the women’s jingle dancers were showing off their dancing skills followed by the men’s grass dancers. The women’s fancy shawl dance was beautiful to watch. The competition dance-off came later.

Adam Beach, the Native actor, attended the Pow wow and was willing to give his opinion. “The Pow wow is the heart of our nation and that we should strive to make it better all the time,” Beach said.

It was a great Pow wow, and at the grand exit everyone said bye to each other. The next Pow wow will be July 9-11 in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory.