Grand Portage Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow is a weekend-long celebration honoring the Anishinabe culture and the area’s historic fur trade. The historic trade took place between the Ojibwe and French in the 1730s, and with the British in the 1760s. During this time, traders made a nine-mile portage, named the Grand Portage, around the Pigeon River. The portage allowed them to access the fur-rich areas of the state and establish trading relationships. Throughout the years, the relationship between the Anishinabe and the traders was strong.
The Great Rendezvous was celebrated each year at the end of the fur trade season. At this time, the Anishinabe and traders would come together to celebrate the year’s success. They would drink, dance, and eat wonderful food. The celebration would center around what is now known as the Grand Portage National Monument. The annual Grand Portage Rendezvous Days celebration honors these events of the past.
During the Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow, the mid-day Grand Entry Saturday and Sunday are particularly inspirational and colorful. At this time, the U.S. flags are raised by military veterans from Grand Portage and staff bearers lead dancers, dressed in traditional regalia, into the Pow Wow ring. Throughout the Pow Wow, everyone has the chance to experience Native American culture in a wonderful way.
The Grand Portage Band of Minnesota Chippewa holds its traditional Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Celebration Pow Wow adjacent to the Grand Portage National Monument the same weekend as Grand Portage Rendezvous Days. Here, vendors offer a wide selection of arts, crafts, and Native American food. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Grand Portage Band and its heritage. Of course, families, including non-Natives are highly encouraged to attend this event which is held each August. The schedule of events changes yearly, so be sure to do your research before heading up.
A Weekend of Music, Dancing, Crafts, and Food Returns!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rendezvous Days and the Pow Wow were canceled in 2020 and 2021. The Grand Portage National Monument is part of the National Park Services and, therefore, had to follow their regulation. Thanks to a change in those regulations, the celebration returns to Grand Portage in 2022! Camping on the historic grounds is once again permitted. Authentically costumed participants will be back. As will all of the good food, dancing, and festivities that return visitors have come to love.
Festivities start the second Friday in August and continue through Sunday. The Stone Bridge Singers Drum Ceremony kicks off the weekend at the Great Hall Lawn. There are children’s events, events for adults, and events for the whole family.
Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow is a summertime celebration that you won’t want to miss!
Experience it Yourself
Head on up to Grand Portage to experience the event yourself. Most of the weekend’s activities take place at the Grand Portage National Monument located at 170 Mile Creek Road, Grand Portage 55605. The Pow Wow events happen at the nearby Pow Wow grounds.
Limited parking is available at the Grand Portage National Monument visitor’s center and museum. Street parking and temporary parking lots are also available for the influx of vehicles over the weekend. Be prepared for a short walk if arriving later in the day on Saturday as parking may be harder to find.
All are welcome at this beautiful, culturally rich family-friendly event.