Everyone is welcome!

With its origins dating back seven years, the Niagara Regional Native Centre’s annual powwow is held to celebrate the culture and traditions of Indigenous peoples. Attendees have the opportunity to • Celebrate and honour Indigenous culture and traditions• Listen to traditional First Nations drumming and singing • Watch a variety of traditional First Nations dance styles • Participate in educational children’s activities.

Online registration is now closed but will be available at the site day of.

Oct. 1, 2022

As a volunteer, you are acting as an ambassador of the Niagara Regional Native Centre. Thank you for
modelling the values of respect, collaboration and generosity as we host in our community.


Event day will be busy – in the midst of your role, take time to observe, learn and celebrate.

Familiarize yourself with the event site and program. Know where the following are located as you may be asked to direct people the day of the powwow:

  • information booth (home to volunteer registration, information and security)
  • concession
  • water fountains
  • first aid station
  • registration tables – dancers/drum groups, vendors, volunteers
  • Port-a-Potties
  • accessible ramps
  • trash and recycling collection area
  • off-site parking
  • If you have questions or concerns throughout your shift, contact your volunteer team leads Tina or Rhonda- Lynn.
  • If at any time during the day you are unsure of your role, please check with your volunteer lead or report back to the information desk for additional information.
  • Wear your volunteer t-shirt. This will identify you as part of the event team. T-shirts can be returned to the information desk at the end of your shift, and we will recycle them for future events.
  • You may be asked a wide variety of questions from attendees throughout the day. If you don’t know an answer, please direct them to the information desk or to a staff member (they will be wearing a bright orange t- shirt for easy identification).
  • Please leave your valuables at home as there is no secure place to leave them. We respectfully request that
    volunteers refrain from cell phone use while performing tasks, as we require you to be on-alert at all times while you are with us.
  • Although Volunteers will be invited to share in our Feast meal at 5:30PM, we strongly encourage you to bring your own snacks and water bottle, or enjoy the many food vendors.
  • Any and all media inquiries should be directed to the information desk. The volunteers at this booth will contact our media representative.
  • The Niagara Regional Native Centre is not liable for theft, injury or extenuating personal circumstances.
  • Visit our Niagara Regional Native Centre page to view past powwow photos at www.nrnc.ca, Like Us on Facebook.

Volunteer Check-in

Give yourself enough time to park/navigate transit and make your way to Montebello Park in downtown St.
Catharines. Upon arriving for your volunteer shift, check-in at the information desk in Montebello Park so we
know that you have arrived. At that time, we will let you know where and to whom to report for your shift.


  • Set-up: Volunteers will help with last minute set up of Montebello Park. Tasks could include setting up tents,
    signage, chairs, tables, etc. Heavy lifting may be involved.
  • Take down: Volunteers will help with cleaning up the park after the powwow is over. They will help gather
    everything that needs to be removed from the park and take it to the loading area. Tasks could include taking
    down signage, stacking chairs and tables, etc. Heavy lifting may be involved.
  • Dignitaries Line up Assistance: Volunteers will assist staff in lining up dignitaries, VIPS, etc. for the Grand

Tina Labrador & Rhonda-Lynn Robson-Heafey

  • Volunteer Booth: All volunteers will check-in upon arrival to the volunteer booth at the information desk and
    be provided with directions to where they should report to for their volunteer shift. This information desk will
    also be a hub for volunteers to meet if they have any questions or if they are no longer needed in their current
    role and are ready to be reassigned to a new role.
  • Montebello Park Parking Attendants: These volunteers must stop all vehicle traffic at barricade allowing entry
    only to Elders/Veterans, those with mobility stickers and VIP’s. Volunteers will direct vendor participants and
    drummers who may be dropping off items to the park (to ensure they do not drop off and park on any streets
    surrounding Montebello Park).
  • Elders and Veterans Assistance: Volunteers will greet Elders and Veterans and answer any questions they may
    have. Volunteers will also be of assistance to get coffee/snacks/etc. or lead them to washrooms. Elders &
    Veterans may be hard of hearing or not understand you when you are giving them complex directions (e.g.
    where the nearest bathroom is located, etc.) so please just be patient, speak clearly, and if necessary, ask for
    further assistance. Lunch will be brought directly to the elders and veterans and you will assist them as needed.
  • Craft Vendor Assistance: Volunteers will greet and check-in expo vendors, provide vendors with event
    information/schedules, direct them to their respective locations, and assist with set up when needed. Heavy
    lifting may be involved.
  • Children’s Programming: Volunteers will provide assistance to educational and children’s programming taking
    place, including First Nations and Metis crafts, dance exhibitions, interactive learning displays.
  • Sustainability/Grounds Green Team: Volunteers will assist with ensuring proper cleanup and sorting of waste
    following the event and assist with waste measurement and analysis. Volunteers will encourage and inform
    visitors throughout the powwow on how to properly sort their items into the appropriate waste, recycling and
    compost bins.


Protective Services will respond to all emergencies in the park. They will be located at the information desk in
Montebello Park and security officers will be stationed at various location around the arena.

What you can expect from Protective Services in the event of:

  1. Lost child/person: If someone approaches you about a lost child/person walk with them to the information booth located in Montebello Park. Do not let them “leave a message with you” and then proceed to look for the lost child/person. Once Protective Services is notified of the situation, a strategy will be made to search for the other party. If the lost child/person is not found after 30 minutes, other emergency service (Niagara Regional Police Services) will be notified.
  2. Event which creates multiple casualties: Protective Services will coordinate with emergency services (fire, ambulance, police, etc.) in anticipation of their arrival and care of the situation.
  3. Medical emergency: If you are aware of or witness a medical emergency go to the first aid station, the information booth, or call 9-1-1.
  4. Suspicious or other criminal activity: If you see an officer nearby, report to them in-person.
  5. Weather-related emergency or any active threat: All staff, volunteers and participants will be advised to seek immediate shelter in the event that a potentially severe weather system threatens the park. Instructions will come from Protective Services. There may be some expectation that volunteers, staff, or anyone familiar with the grounds, would aid attendees. However, one’s personal safety is of the upmost importance.


When do you stand up/take your hat off during a Powwow?

If you are able to stand, you should stand during the Grand Entry, Flag and Veteran Song, Honour Songs and the opening prayers. Please listen closely to the emcees as they will let you know when you should stand.

Can I take pictures of the powwow?

In general, taking pictures of the dancers during competitions is allowed, but, during any ceremonial portions, put your camera away. If you see dancers around the powwow grounds, always ask permission before taking photos—many dancers will gladly strike a pose.

What should I call the outfit of the dancers?

Dancers’ outfits are called regalia, it has usually taken many months/years to create these outfits and many people do not like it to be referred to as a costume. Do not touch a dancer’s regalia without the dancer’s permission. If you notice that a dancer has dropped part of their
regalia, inform them but allow them to pick up the item themselves unless they ask you to assist.

Why do Elders/ Veterans get special treatment?

In First Nation’s culture there is a high level of respect shown to those who are older, for it is they who have gained wisdom through their experiences and the knowledge that they have acquired. Please remember to show the appropriate respect and if needed, provide assistance to the elderly and/or those with limited mobility. Veterans have made sacrifices for our collective safety and defending our lands and territories. Within the powwow, Veterans are honoured in many different categories as well as in the Grand Entry. Traditionally the powwow had roots and was used to recognize Veterans and their tour of duties. When the males would come back from war, they would re-enact in dance and song their tour of duty and display their valour.

Can I join in and dance with the powwow dancers?

Listen to the emcees as they will let you know when the
intertribal dance is happening. If you see many different dance regalia dancing, then it is likely an intertribal
dance. Please feel free to join and partake in the culture.

Where can I sit at a powwow?

At many powwows there will be designated places for spectators to sit such as bleachers and chairs. Many people bring their own chairs as there is usually limited seating. If you see a blanket placed over chairs it should be assumed that others reserved the spot. Please find another place to sit if there is a blanket or regalia on the chair.

If you have children with you, we ask that you have them sit with you. It is very easy for young children to get lost in the crowd. It is not the powwow committee’s responsibility to look after lost children. Also, caution your children to be respectful of their actions and use of the facilities. Please ensure that you are far enough away from the drums to allow judges, arena staff, and the singers to move around the drum.

1. Listen to the emcee
The emcee has a deep understanding of powwow protocols, ceremonies and traditions and will announce the contests and explain protocol to visitors—such as when to join in and dance.

2. Photo protocol
In general, taking pictures of the dancers during competitions is allowed, but, during any ceremonial portions, put your camera away. If you see dancers around the powwow grounds, always ask permission before taking photos—many dancers will gladly strike a pose.

3. Regalia
Dancing attire is referred to as regalia. Many dancers are proud to show off their feathers and beadwork. But resist the urge to touch. These items are ceremonial and touching them without permission is considered impolite.

4. Family-friendly
Powwows are family-centred events. You’ll often see children running free around the powwow grounds and busting their own moves on the edge of the arena.

5. Offerings
Some powwows will have sacred fires for people to make offerings of tobacco and cedar or other traditional medicines such as sage and sweetgrass.