Wiikwemkoong Cultural Festival postponed until 2021 due to virus

WIIKWEMKOONG – The Wiikwemkoong 60th annual Cultural Festival has been postponed to 2021, as has that communitiy’s June traditional powwow.

“The volunteers and staff of Wiikwemkoong’s largest and longest running event, Wiikwemkoong Annual Cultural Festival, would like to inform our powwow family, visitors and patrons of the official decision to delay celebrations of our milestone of 60 years that was to be held July 31 to August 3, 2020,” a release states.

“In careful deliberation by all involved in planning this event, organizers have decided to postpone the 60th celebration until 2021. We understand that the world has become a different place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and we must continue to take all precautions to keep everyone safe,” the release explains.

“As Manitoulin Island’s premier event, the Wiilkwemkoong Annual Cultural Festival has become an iconic cultural celebration, as well as an iconic driver attracting visitors from across the globe. In 2019, the event had won the prestigious Indigenous Tourism Award by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario for their work in strengthening the Indigenous tourism sector. The organizing partners remain committed to hosting their guests and showcasing the vibrant Anishinabek culture of Odawa Mnis at the 60th anniversary in 2021.” 

“We would like to extend our prayers for the safety of all our past and present head staff, singers, dancers, vendors and their families,” the release continues. “We express our gratitude to all our front-line and essential workers throughout the world who are working tirelessly through this pandemic. Furthermore, we thank all those individuals who have remained on Manitoulin Island during this time to ensure that the Island community has adequate supplies and continues to support the Island health care system during these unprecedented times. Please keep us in your calendar for July 30 to August 2, 2021 when we can safely gather again.”