Leech Lake Early Childhood Development Celebrates End of School Year with Annual Pow Wow
Many area high schools celebrated graduation this past weekend, but their students were not the only ones taking a rite of passage.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe held their annual Head Start Niimiiwin (pow wow) this past Thursday, May 25th at the Boys & Girls Club to recognize and congratulate the younger generation’s effort to carry on their traditions.
“This has become a tradition for us in the last few years,” said Leech Lake Early Childhood Director Lee Turney.
“This is their time to celebrate, to dance, to participate, and to be brought into the traditional circle that we as a people enjoy,” explained 2023 Leech Lake Head Start Arena Director Rodney Northbird.
The event was held to not only commemorate making it through the school year, but also to crown the 2023/2024 royalty.
“If we go to the conventional pow wows around Leech Lake or into other tribal communities, they’ll have a princess and brave that represents,” explained Turney. “We did not want to not be in that group, and so we put together a princess and brave competition.”
The most important part of the celebration was when friends, family, and members of the public were able to participate during the event.
“Just to see the kids having fun and to see it continue is like a milestone for our culture,” Northbird said.
All 13 Head Start classrooms took part in the event, and multiple schools attended as well.