Wii'um Morin with mother Robin Wemigwans and Xavier Mousseau Moxam (in wheel chair). Each with Down Syndrome as others with special needs and learning challenges danced behind them.

Wii’um Morin with mother Robin Wemigwans and Xavier Mousseau Moxam (in wheel chair). Each with Down Syndrome as others with special needs and learning challenges danced behind them.

By Heather Campbell

SUDBURY – The parents of six-year-old Wii’um Morin wanted to express their gratitude to their community for supporting their son and the best way they knew how was to hold a pow-wow. Niimkawaad: Dance for Others, was held on Sept. 13 at the O’Connor Park in Sudbury.

Robin Wemigwans and Will Morin together with the Best Start Aboriginal Hub (BBBF), the Down Syndrome Association of Sudbury and the Greater Sudbury Police Service held the first mini educational pow-wow to honour all citizens with special needs and learning challenges.

“We honoured those with special needs and learning challenges, and how they helped us to see the ‘ability’ in them,” said Morin. “We wanted to express our gratitude for the teachers, the parents and coworkers who support Wii’um.”

They had over 50 dancers in regalia, four drum groups; Shadaakii, Spirit Bear, Little Thunderbird Singers, and the Sudbury Community Drum Circle. Although a cold and sometimes wet day it was well attended.

Wii’um Morin was one of five people selected this year to be a national hero by the Canadian Downs Syndrome Society (CDSS) in recognition of World Downs Syndrome Day. Nominated by his teacher and father, he was selected as an inspiration to his community to “see the ability”. As a hero he received a $500.00 grant to put toward his education, a special goal or project, or to donate to another organization. They chose to donate the grant to the Downs Syndrome Society of Sudbury.

Wii’um was chosen as a hero because of his love of the Ojibway culture and his natural expression at area pow-wows.

“He engages wholeheartedly with his true spirit emerging,” says Morin. “Most emcees at pow-wows will give him the opportunity to speak in the microphone and he manages to do what vocalization he can,” said Morin.

The event not only honoured supporters of Morin but it also welcomed those who live with special needs and helped to raise awareness of their abilities rather than disabilities.