Sixties Scoop survivors reclaim their heritage with Pow Wow 101

For participants of the Pow Wow 101 program, eight months of work and practice all culminated on May 25, when they attended the Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s 45th annual powwow.

On this overcast Saturday, they danced for a cheering crowd, showing off colourful personalized regalia with broad smiles.

They all joined Pow Wow 101 because their families never got a chance to pass down their culture to them. 

Many were separated from their birth families — and their traditions — at a young age by Canadian child welfare authorities, and the children were largely adopted into white families. It’s a period known today as the Sixties Scoop. 

The Pow Wow 101 Program at Odawa Native Friendship Centre aimed to gently reintroduce those “scooped” children to the Indigenous community.

Through teachings from elders and by learning to dance, sing, drum and make regalia, survivors of the Sixties Scoop and their descendants could reclaim their heritage.

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