By Roman Hayter

The Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation’s proposed new cultural center has already received international attention.

The Powwow Arbour’s mission is to strengthen traditions, promote the Saulteaux culture, and provide possibilities for the nation’s long-term economic development.

The award-winning structure was designed in partnership with the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, Oxbow Architecture, and Dalhousie Architecture Professor Emeritus Richard Kroeker. The project has earned worldwide attention, including the Future Projects Culture category winner at the World Architecture Festival Prize in Lisbon, Portugal.

The award recognizes the world’s most forward-thinking architectural concepts as well as projects in the design phase that highlight important difficulties that architects will face in the future.

“The project started in the fall of 2021, when the nation and the leadership, a group of elders, and people from the powwow community came together to identify that there was a need for a powwow in our community, and that need came from the fact that many young people are learning to dance powwow but we don’t have a venue for them, so the community got together and began its planning,” said Myke Agecoutay, President and CEO of Muscowpetung Saulteaux Business Developments. “In reality, the powwow arbour was designed to just provide a venue for powwow dancing, but it further evolved into it potentially being a facility for land-based teachings where our students from our educational institutions can come and learn about Indigenous history.”

The stadium is expected to begin construction next year and be able to host powwows by 2024.

“We were looking at the other reserves in the surrounding communities and how they have powwow arbours and they are able to have celebrations and they are able to bring people into their community and kind of get in touch with their culture again and that was always something that we wanted to bring into our community is a way for our people to come together with their extended families and whoever else needs to come in and have that healing,” Melissa Tavita, Chief of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation said.