Hundreds celebrate Sigwan Spring Festival at Madahoki farm
As part of the March Break festivities, many families made their way to Madahòkì farm celebrating the annual Sigwan Spring Festival.
“It’s fun to get out and enjoy the fresh air with the family on a beautiful day,” said Fred Koch.
Free to the public, the festival offered visitors a chance to learn more about Indigenous cultures and traditions.
“We arrived in time for the puppet show and the pow wow dancing and the girls loved the dancing the most,” said Lysa LaPointe, who brought her children Marin and Francis Carter to the farm. “It’s our first time visiting so I didn’t know the farm existed.”
“Our goal is to share the land with everyone and bridge those gaps to teach people who we are,” said Awema Tendesi, a cultural ambassador with Indigenous Experiences.
The farm, located in the Ottawa’s west end, was created in 2021. The space houses a marketplace that supports Indigenous artists and businesses as well as agricultural land, the permanent home for a growing herd of a rare breed of horses.
“These are the Ojibwe spirit horses; they are an endangered breed that is indigenous to North America,” said Avery Taylor who works with the horses regularly.
There are nine Ojibwe spirit horses on the farm, the goal is to help restore the breed and share the role these horses played in the past.
“We talk about the history of the horses, the way these horses have helped our people in the past,” said Tendesi.
For Tendesi, who is part of Algonquin Kitigan Zibi, these kinds of festivals brings us closer to the meaning behind madahòkì, which in Anishinaabe means to share the land.
“When I get children asking what does this mean, what does that mean, it means a lot,” he said. “You’ll see these children will have a basic understanding of Indigenous culture.”
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