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2014-03-16 at 17:45

Community gathering

By Matt Vis,
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For Lyndahl McGinnis, a powwow is a perfect opportunity to enjoy time with family.

The Lakehead University Native Students’ Association hosted their annual spring powwow at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse, a three-day festive gathering that attracted thousands of people.

McGinnis, 20, hadn’t danced in a couple of years but with some new family members ready to get their start he figured he could help set an example.

“I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to show off my regalia and welcome in some new family members who are just getting into dancing,” he said.

“I have a large family and we just have some newborns and younger kids and their parents who haven’t danced in years so we’re just welcoming them back into the culture.”

The powwow commenced on Friday evening with a warm-up before a Grand Entry on Saturday and a traditional feast.

McGinnis added the drumming, music, food and regalia all provide a traditional feel that honours the history of their culture.

There are volunteers from many of the city’s educational institutions, including the university, Confederation College and some high schools.

Powwow coordinator Natasha Wesley was a little surprised with the attendance on Sunday, the final day of the celebration.

More than half of the bleacher seats in the Fieldhouse were full and the floor was packed with dancers for what is usually the kickoff of powwow season.

“This year it seems like it’s a lot bigger than past years,” Wesley said. “It’s usually the powwow that starts off the spring season and it seems a lot bigger than usual.”

The powwow was attended by people travelling in from Manitoba, Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as other parts of the province.

Organizers took time on Sunday to recognize missing and murdered women and held a lengthy prayer for them and their families. They also collected donations and participated in a ceremonial dance.

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