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ONWA’s 52nd AGA and 6th Annual MMIWG Pow Wow

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

“Mother Earth: Women Are Medicine – Land. Healing. Roles.”



Thunder Bay, ON – The Ontario Native Women’s Association’s (ONWA) 52nd Annual General Assembly (AGA) is taking place September 8th and 9th at the Best Western Plus Nor’wester Hotel & Conference Centre in Thunder Bay. Following the AGA, on Sunday September 10th, community will come together at ONWA’s Ray Blvd Thunder Bay location for ONWA’s 6th Annual Pow Wow to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

The theme for this year’s AGA is Mother Earth: Women Are Medicine - Land. Healing. Roles. The AGA provides an opportunity to highlight and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year as well as to engage in discussions on current priorities such as restoring our relationship with Mother Earth.


We know that Indigenous women’s voices must be centered in all conversations about Mother Earth, climate change, environmental justice and their connection to gender-based violence. Indigenous women and girls' knowledge and expertise is vast; they are uniquely positioned to speak on the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on their communities, and on strategies for resistance and remediation.


The climate crisis is especially impacting the health, safety, security and ways of life of Indigenous communities, while also deepening existing conditions of inequality for Indigenous women, their families, and communities.

On Sunday September 10th ONWA welcomes people from all backgrounds to stand together and attend the Pow Wow to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This will be held at 380 Ray Blvd in Thunder Bay. The Sunrise Ceremony will begin at 7:30 am with opening prayer starting at 10:00 am. Feel free to bring your hand drums.


There will be food and craft vendors on-site, and a free shuttle starting at 9:45am, from the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium located at 1 Paul Shaffer Dr to help people travel to the Pow Wow.


MMIWG Pow Wow Agenda:


10:00 am:

  • Opening Prayer – Pearl Gobana and Linda Barkman

  • Hand-drum song “Passwewe Ikewug”

  • Opening Words and Welcome:

    • Ingrid Green, Director of Research ONWA

    • Debra Vermette, President ONWA

    • Chief Michele Solomon, Fort William First Nation

    • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

    • Chief Mel Hardy, Rocky Bay First Nation

    • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services of Canada

11:00 am: Grand Entry

12:00 pm: Feast

1:00 pm:

  • Host Drum Grassy Narrows Drum Group Teaching and Honour Song

  • Flag Song

  • Veteran’s Song – Chief Mel Hardy Rocky Bay First Nation

  • Passwewe Ikewug (Echo Women) ONWA’s Women’s Drum Group

  • Honour and Dance Songs, Jingle Dress, Healing Song, MMIWG Dance

  • Janine Desmoulin – speaking to the Grandmother Earth Dress

  • Moment of Silence and tobacco offering to Sacred Fire

  • Ash Mauro – Buffalo Hide Ceremony Teachings

2:00 pm: Giveaway

3:00 pm: Closing Prayer


For more information and media inquiries contact:

Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager

Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)


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