The 49th-annual Rainy River Nations' annual fish fry to be hosted this Friday is an event going back to 1971 but, in fact, reflects a tradition rooted much further back in time.
As part of the Anishinaabe culture, the First Nation is sharing their bounty with residents of the communities around them. It is a tradition borne and continued through centuries of peoples living along the Rainy River.
A record 1,200 people attended this function in 2016 that is always held on the Friday prior to the long weekend in May. It has introduced residents to bannock, smoked sturgeon, fresh walleye and many other traditional Anishinaabe foods.
It is a festival and feast. It marks the true beginning of the coming season of fish fries and pow-wows across the region.
It is a festival of people and volunteers who for nearly five decades have prepared the dishes and served them up.
This celebration began with two community people catching fish in the village park and then inviting friends to enjoy their a meal from their catch.
From those two individuals, the annual spring fish fry has grown moving from its original location at the Rainy River First Nations park onto Kay-Nah-chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre and now to the Rainy River First Nations pow wow grounds.
In 2005, as part of the feast, Rainy River First Nations signed a lands claim agreement with both the provincial and federal government. It was a momentous day.
Without volunteers, the annual celebration would never take place. Those volunteers are the true spirit of the festival bringing together the communities of the district.
We congratulate Rainy River First Nations on their 49th anniversary.