Downtown pow-wows help keep the rez close when far from home
I am a 23-year-old Ojibway woman from a 350-population First Nation about a 17-hour drive from Toronto. I left Seine River First Nation ive years ago to study journalism at Humber College.
Moving from the rez to the city has changed my life completely.
I decided on school in Toronto because it was a place that would challenge me to get out of my comfort zone and experience something other than the rez.
It was a hard transition. I was homesick. I knew no other Indigenous person in the city from home, and I had no clue where I could go to meet other Indigenous people.
I went to the Aboriginal Resource Centre at my school after searching through the college website for services they o ered Indigenous students. I met people there who welcomed me with open arms. With their help, I started to learn the ways of Indigenous city life, like where to get a good bannock burger and places like the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. But I also learned about the many other cultures and people who reside here.
Even though I have lived here since 2012, there isn’t a day where I don’t think about home. I miss my community and how peaceful it is. So I did what I could to keep the feeling of home close to me. I paid attention to pow-wows, workshops, festivals, and anything that had the vibe of home.
The Indigenous community in Toronto has been nothing but welcoming. Home will always be the rez, but inding a place and community in the city where you’re warmly welcomed has given me a new sense of belonging, and I’m not ready to let go of that feeling anytime soon.
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