Pays Plat First Nation Pow Wow – A celebration of community and culture

the drum
Some of the drummers at Pays Plat – Photo by Phoebe Butcher

There are many things that you might want to know at a Pow Wow. First the event begins with what is called the Grand Entry. That is usually followed by a prayer from one of the Elders.

The Eagle Staff leads the Grand Entry, followed by flags, then the dancers, while one of the host drums sings an opening song.

This event is sacred in nature; some Pow Wows do not allow filming or photography during this time, though others allow it. You can ask at the announcer’s booth, and they will share the information you need.

If military veterans or active duty soldiers are present, they often carry the flags and eagle staffs. Celebrating the service of veterans is something that happens at Pow Wows, and is an important part of the day.

Pays Plat Pow Wow feast
The feast was amazing at the Pays Plat First Nation Pow Wow

The veterans are followed by the head dancers and then the rest of dancers usually enter the circle.

The dancers circle, clockwise around the drum which is in the centre of the circle.

Attending a Pow Wow for the first time, you will likely be struck by the bright colours of the regalia that the dancers are wearing. If you ask questions, you will likely find that the persons will be very willing to share with you and you will walk away with a great deal of understanding of what Aboriginal culture is about.

Something many people don’t know is that the four colours of the Medicine Wheel, black, red, yellow and white are inclusive colours. They represent all the peoples of the earth.

The beat of the drum is refered to as ‘Mother Earth’s heart beat’. The drum and the traditional ceremonies for the Aboriginal people are seen as a key toward restoring balance in their communities.

You might also find that the humour of the arena announcer, or MC can be quite funny. At the Pays Plat Pow Wow on Saturday night there were several really funny comments and jokes offered to the attendees.

The Regional Multicultural Youth Council from Thunder Bay attended the Pays Plat Pow Wow to help out. These young people are helping at many events across Thunder Bay as they seek a new permanent home in the city.