Building Bridges at the LUNSA Pow Wow at Lakehead University

Kyle and Kristen - Photo by Emery Slipperjack from Fort Hope FN
Kyle and Kristen - Photo by Emery Slipperjack from Fort Hope FN

LUNSA Pow Wow Builds Community

THUNDER BAY – A Pow Wow is a long standing part of Anishinabek / Anishnawbe culture. It brings family, friends and people together. The Pow Wow, since long before Europeans arrived on Turtle Island,  was and is an important part of the culture of the people.

The drum, the heartbeat of mother earth, is a part of the culture. and there are many very specific traditions that go along with the drum. The circle of life, is represented in the Pow Wow circle.

So too is the respect for the Elders, respect for the warriors who defend society, and protect the women and the children.

The Pow Wow and what today are ceremonies were, and increasingly are, important parts of life.

LUNSA Pow Wow is a Special Pow Wow

The Lakehead University Native Students Association (LUNSA) Pow Wow in many ways is a very special Pow Wow. Held at the university, it offers an exposure to the youth at the Pow Wow to what could be in their educational future.

Universities are places where ideas are shared, discussed, debated, and where people learn.

This is the fourth year NetNewsLedger has broadcast the LUNSA Pow Wow live. Each year, we learn more about the people, and each year bridges are built between people.

This year, sitting at the computer, a young man, Emery from Fort Hope stopped by the broadcast area. He watched for a bit. He asked about the digital camera. His interest was strong.

Emery asked how it worked, and if he could try taking a picture. After showing him some basics, Emery took some pictures. He asked more questions.

Showing him how one of his pictures would be in this article, Emery made an interesting comment.

Emery was sitting with his mom, dad and me… and said, after starting to learn how to take pictures… “I am working my way into a job”. I explained that was entirely possible, he could work hard at school, and could attend Confederation College and take the Broadcast Journalism program. 

For young people, the world is their oyster, and their options are as big as we as a society let them be.

Youth of today have keen skills and are like all youth are always interested to learn. What are needed are the opportunities.

Kyle and Kristen - Photo by Emery Slipperjack from Fort Hope FN
Kyle and Kristen – Photo by Emery Slipperjack from Fort Hope FN

It is a positive experience that we can all do to build bridges.

Learning about the culture of the Ojibway and Cree people who lived here in Northern Ontario before the area had first contact with the European society, helps to build those important cultural bridges, and understanding.

Thunder Bay has experienced in recent years, issues where division rather than unity has been far too common.

This week, in Thunder Bay, Diversity Thunder Bay hosted the annual breakfast at the Victoria Inn for the Elimination of Racism.

respect begins with you and me

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre recently joined with Confederation College and the City of Thunder Bay in the .respect campaign.

At the LUNSA Pow Wow, hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered today. They are sharing in the respect of each other, as individuals, as well as for the different cultures that all the people represent.

At the end of the day, we are all inhabitants of this small green planet. It is in our diversity and in our differences that we should be embracing and celebrating.

Reaching out, sharing and learning about each other, we all benefit. Today that was, here in Thunder Bay something strong going on all over the Pow Wow.

Everyday we all make choices. We choose actions. We can choose positives, or we can choose negatives. Choosing to treat our fellow human beings with respect, and engaging people of all ages with interest, in my view helps build a better world.

My two cents worth anyhow.

James Murray

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