Meet our People
At Gchi-Waaswaagaaning we want to honour Role Models, community leaders and inspiring people who have shown resilience, humility, strength, and so much more. The mainstream fashion industry has always chosen models based on an individual’s physical appearance, but we want models to honour the beautiful diversity of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg.
Mackenzie Courchene, also known in Anishinaabemowin as Dancing Blue Thunderbird Woman, is an Anishinaabe Kwe who was born and raised in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg. Mackenzie takes every opportunity given to her as an opportunity to represent her community and her people in a good way, whether it be attending various conferences around Ontario or dancing at traditional pow-wows along the Northshore. She currently sits on the Biigtigong Youth Council as a councillor and is a passionate advocate for her community and the youth in her community. She believes that our youth of today are our leaders of tomorrow. Mackenzie recently graduated Grade 12 from Marathon High School and wants to continue her education in Anishinaabemowin. Her goal is to become a fluent speaker of the Anishinaabe language and then bring her teachings back to her community.
Favourite Memory of Biigtigong:
My favourite memory of Biigtigong will always be the annual pow-wow. I have been dancing since I could walk so the pow-wow holds a very important place in my heart. For me, pow-wows are fun and freeing. My heart and spirit glow when it’s time to put on my regalia and get lined up for that first grand entry. There is no better feeling than being under the arbour with my pow-wow family, singing under Julie’s voice, sitting in Donald’s chair all day, and then hearing the beat of the drum echo off the Pic River during Saturday Night Live. Dancing makes me feel safe. Dancing makes me feel protected. When I dance I can feel my ancestors dancing with me and there is never a moment of sadness or anger… except when I skip my afternoon poutine.