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Powwow power!

“Powwows are like medicine for our people,” explains Theland Kicknosway. He has danced at powwows since he learned to walk.

At powwows, friends and family gather, celebrating with traditional music and dance, food, handicrafts and healing ceremonies. For a long time, the Canadian government banned powwows in an attempt to eradicate the culture of Indigenous peoples.

When the fight for the rights of Indigenous peoples gained support in the 1960s, powwows became a way of demanding justice and strengthening the culture. Non-Indigenous people are almost always welcome to visit a powwow, as long as they show respect.

A young Theland Kicknosway being taught how to dance by elder dancer AJ Elliot. Photo: Chris Mikula / The Ottawa Citizen
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