Northern College Raises Totem Pole Prior to Hosting 15th Annual Traditional Powwow

Northern College News and Events

Date Posted: April 22, 2016

TIMMINS, ON: The 15th annual Northern College Traditional Powwow is being held at the Timmins Campus this weekend.

Preceding this year’s powwow, Northern College held a ceremony Friday morning to mark the raising of a totem pole, which was part of a generous gift donation of indigenous artifacts received last November from Laurie Belisle, owner of the Polar Bear Trading Post of Cochrane. The 19 foot totem pole, which had been carefully refurbished over the winter, was carved by the late Henry Joseph Peltier, an accomplished musician and wood carver from Manitoulin Island. His son Glen, a resident of Cochrane, was on hand for the ceremony.

“Receiving a totem pole indicates we are being honoured,” said David Faries, Elder at Northern College. In this case Northern College and the Northern College Indigenous Council on Education are being honoured for having signed the historic Indigenous Education Protocol last June. “The new protocol aims to increase access and learning outcomes for Indigenous students” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College, as he read aloud the seven aspirational principles contained in the protocol. The totem pole was erected on the front lawn overseeing the campus buildings, site of this year’s powwow.

The theme of this year’s powwow is Honouring Our Warriors, Past, Present and Future. The powwow will feature performances by drums, dancers and singers from throughout Ontario and beyond, and will highlight customary aspects of Indigenous tradition.

David Faries will share Emcee duties this year with Kirby Mianscum and will also be Mooshum (Grandfather). He will be joined by Gookum (Grandmother) Marilyn Chevrier-Wills, and Arena Director Gerald Chum. Highridge Singers of Moose Factory will serve as host drum, with Young Eagle serving as co-host drum and the Whitestone Cree Singers as invited drum. They will be accompanied by lead dancers Maretta Jones and Tim McGregor.

“We are very proud of the fifteen-year legacy that we’ve established with the Northern College Traditional Powwow,” says Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Hosting cultural events is an important component of our commitment to providing opportunities for our students and community members to share their unique cultural experiences and perspectives. The powwow provides a terrific opportunity for all members of our community to celebrate the rich local Indigenous cultures that we are fortunate enough to be a part of.”

Festivities will begin with the first grand entry at 12:00 – noon on Saturday. Information booths and traditional arts and crafts will be on display throughout the day. A second grand entry will begin at 7:00 p.m. A third and final grand entry will be held at 12:00 – noon on Sunday. Festivities will conclude with giveaways and closing ceremonies at 4:00 p.m.

All members of the public are invited to attend this popular event which is family-friendly and free. For further information, please contact Joseph Nakogee at 705.235.3211 ext. 2233 or nakogeej@northern.on.ca.

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Picture (#1) Timmins Campus Elder David Faries
Picture (#2) Northern College President Fred Gibbons
Picture (#3) Totem Pole

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Media Contact:

Jim Banks
Manager, Marketing, Communications and Alumni
Northern College
705.235.3211 ext. 2253
banksj@northern.on.ca