Exhibitionists·Art Kids

12-year-old pow wow performer Florence Osawamick has been dancing since she could walk

Florence Osawamick is carrying on the tradition of pow wow dance and it's bringing her — and us! — a ton of joy.

Osawamick is carrying on the tradition of pow wow dance and it's bringing her — and us! — a ton of joy

Florence Osawamick. (CBC Arts)

Florence Osawamick is a 12-year-old pow wow dancer. Her spirit name is Two Rainbow Mist Woman. And she's been dancing since she could walk, starting out in the jingle dress tradition like her mom, who taught her the art.

There's so much more to pow wow dancing than the steps, as Osawamick will show you in this video. She explains why she's attracted to traditional rather than contemporary footwork, and she explains the significance of the individual elements of pow wow dancing, from the steps that represent the earth, to the fringes on her regalia that represent flowing water.

Watch the video:

Florence Osawamick, 12-year-old pow wow dancer

4 years ago
Duration 3:27
In this edition of Art Kids, Florence Osawamick is carrying on the tradition of pow wow dance and it's bringing her (and us) a ton of joy.

Water holds particular power to Osawamick, who accompanies her mother on the Great Lakes Awareness Walks that aim to spread awareness about water pollution in the Kawartha Lakes and encourage communities to take care of the water that must be shared by everybody. So her footwork embodies this care — she says, "I feel like walking for water and dancing and all my work is all connected."

When I'm dancing, I'm dancing for the people who can't dance.- Florence Osawamick

Next, Osawamick wants to study hoop dancing like her brother Nimkii Osawamick (whose music is featured in this video, drumming with the group Charging Horse). We suspect she's going to make her mark on that artform, too.

Special thanks to the University of Toronto's Honouring Our Students Pow Wow and to the featured drummers at the event: Young Creek, Old Mush and Charging Horse.

Florence Osawamick. (CBC Arts)

Art Kids is a series that travels the country to find the next generation of groundbreaking creators in arts from painting, to dance, to poetry. Their accomplishments will amaze you — and might make you feel a little bad about yourself. But that's okay.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.


Priscilla Galvez is a Toronto-based Producer and Director. Most recently, she produced the BravoFACT short film The Emissary and is currently in post-production on a sci-fi action short The Drop In for Bell Media. Priscilla is in development on the web-series Off Kilter with director Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla as well as directing and co-writing the short film Wolf Alice, based on the short story by Angela Carter. Jeff Pavlopoulos is a Toronto-based writer, director and cinematographer striving to encounter the unfamiliar in the everyday. He is currently developing a short series, Secret Chiefs, about the invisible ties that bind us to one another, and the hidden, sometimes dangerous world that exists all around us.