Celebrate culture and music this summer

northern sky

By Xavier Kataquapi

Summer is a great time to really enjoy Northern Ontario. I would not want to be anywhere else in the world at this time of the year because although it gets hot for a few weeks, mostly the temperature is bearable and it is very easy to get into the wilderness and to a wonderful, cool northern lake.

In most other parts of the world, and in particular in cities, it is terribly hot and many people actually die of heat-related health issues. We are the lucky ones.

This summer there are so many things to do up here in the north with all kinds of powwows and music events. You could be on a summer tour and travelling every day and it would still be almost impossible to attend all of the great gatherings and celebrations up here.

If you are interested in attending a traditional powwow this summer here are some northern ones that are easy to get to.

  • Dokis First Nation powwow in between Sudbury and North Bay runs June 29 and June 30
  • Sheguiandah First Nation owwow on Manitoulin Island is July 6 and July 7;
  • Beausoleil First Nation First Nation, Christian Island, Georgian Bay runs July 6 and July 7;
  • Sault Tribe Chippewa Indians powwow, Sault Ste. Marie happens July 4 thru July 7;
  • First Nation & Aboriginal Advisory Committee at French River Visitor Centre Powwow is July 5 thru July 6;
  • Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Pow Wow, Heron Bay, Ontario happens at Pic River Pow Wow grounds July 5-7:
  • Temagami July 6 and July 7 pow wow, Temagami First Nations happens July 13 and July 14;
  • Mississauga First Nation powwow near Blind River is July 20 and July 21;
  • Opwaaganasiniing powwow at Lake Helen Reserve, Hwy 11 and 17 is July 19 and July 21;
  • Pays Plat First Nation powwow near Rossport, Ont. runs July 26 thru July 28;
  • Atikameksheng Anishnawbek powwow, Whitefish Lake First Nation near Sudbury happens July 27 and July 28;
  • Thessalon First Nation powwow near Blind River is Aug. 3 and Aug. 4;
  • Wiikwemkoong Cultural Festival at Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island is Aug. 3 and Aug. 4;
  • Chapleau Cree First Nation powwow at Fox Lake Reserve is Aug. 9 thru Aug. 11;
  • Genaabaajing Jintamek powwow at Serpent River First Nation (Cutler Lake) is Aug. 9 thru Aug. 12;
  • Whitefish River First Nation powwow on Birch Island is Aug 17 and Aug. 18;
  • Shawanaga First Nation powwow near Parry Sound is Aug. 17 and Aug. 18;
  • Wahnapitae First Nation powwow near Sudbury and Capreol is Aug. 17 and Aug. 18;
  • Ketegaunseebee powwow at Garden River First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie is Aug. 16 thru Aug. 18;
  • Zhiibaahausing First Nation powwow on Manitoulin Island is Aug 24 and Aug. 25;
  • M’chigeen First Nation powwow on Manitoulin Island is Aug. 30 thru Sept. 1;
  • Nipissing First Nation powwow near North Bay is Aug. 31 and Sept 1;
  • Mattagami First Nation powwow is Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.

There are lots of music events also and you should try to get to Timmins Rock On The River running July 26 and July 27 at the Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area (Participark). The event will headline the Sheepdogs and Theory of a Deadman, as well as The Trews, Red Sun Rising, Everlast and I Mother Earth.

Visit Kirkland Lake for the city’s 100 Anniversary to participate in all kinds of fun events for all ages from now to July 7. The Crash Test Dummies and Serena Ryder will be playing June 28 and Blue Rodeo will be headlining along with Stompin Taw Connors (the son of Tom) on June 29.

My friends the song writing duo of Lee Holmes and Alana Pierini have produced a song to help promote the event and you can find their music video by searching for Lee Holmes Kirkland Lake on YouTube.

Travel to Iroquois Falls and you can experience Porquis Rock N Blues, one of the best music festivals in the north on July 19 to July 21 featuring Eric Ethridge, The Downchild Blues Band,  Coldwater, Gary Cain Band, Kickback Track11, Jake and the Fundamentals, Cory James Mitchell, JW - Jones and the David Gogo Band.

A friend of mine Matt James from Mattagami First Nation is a rising star in country music and hopefully you will be able to catch him at performances in northern Ontario this summer. To follow Matt James go to Matt James Entertainment on Facebook.

The most amazing thing about all these opportunities involving long running powwows and world class music performances is that the cost is so reasonable. You can even camp at many of these events or find affordable accommodation and you don’t have to fight bumper to bumper traffic to get to the venues or stand in line ups for hours.

Remember powwows are alcohol and drug free so respect that. If you are looking for more information on any of these events simply go to Facebook and you will find all the details.

Meegwetch to all the hard working volunteers who make these events happen and to those who step up to sponsor them.

So enjoy the wilderness vistas on the road, breath the fresh air, swim in a clean northern lake, celebrate culture, take part in traditions, listen to great music and visit a powwow or festival with friends and family in Northern Ontario this summer.