While exploring Turtle Island, I meet people who forever change me. How they live gives me the courage to think outside the box and find the passion within to make this world better. I really want you to meet some of these superheroes: Modern Warriors who are blazing new paths and facing the challenges of today's Indigenous reality.

"I have immense respect for Don. Not only is he confident enough to wear pink in his traditional outfits, he's honest about the path he's walked. He works hard every day to be the man he can respect, and embodies the way of the peaceful warrior."

Don Barnaby ( Beaver Who Creates Waves )

He's got soul, spirit, and serious rhythm. This powwow pro first found healing through dance, and hasn't stopped since.

Beat: Weekdays: Carpenter building homes on the Rez. Weekends: On the powwow trail dancing, emcee’ing, or acting as an arena director.

Heritage: First Nations Mi'gmaq from Listuguj, Quebec

Current Location: Mohawk territory in Kahnawake

Describe yourself in 1 word: Traditional

Don Barnaby

How did dancing first enter your life?: I attended powwows when I was young, but never entered the circle to dance because I was always under the influence. I knew that in order to participate, I had to be clean and sober for at least 4 days prior. At that time, 4 hours felt like an eternity. Much later, after a year of sobriety, I was finally ready to dance. I purchased a ribbon shirt from a vendor and entered the circle for nighttime intertribals. When I stepped in, it began to rain. As everyone scattered, the drummers kept drumming and the singers kept singing so I stayed and danced. When the song was over I stepped outside the circle and the rain stopped. When I went back into the circle it started to rain again. This happened for the next few songs. I knew that the Creator was offering me a spiritual cleanse. I have been dancing and praying ever since.

How do you keep in shape when you aren't dancing?: I work hard as a carpenter, and I’ve got a treadmill at home! But really, I’m dancing all year ‘round.

Don Barnaby Family

Where are your favorite places to powwow?: I really enjoy the traditional powwows throughout Mi'gmaq territory across the Maritimes. It's so nice to hear my respected elders telling stories at night and hearing the children speak our language.

Most memorable powwow moment: Not exactly a "powwow” moment, but I did get to dance in centerfield at Fenway Park in Boston during a Red Sox/Yankees game to honor Jacoby Ellsbury on Native American Day! Dancing in front of 40,000 people was so amazing.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?: My children! I also love my culture and Mi'gmaq People; they fill my heart with so much pride. And last but not least- Candia, the woman in my life who keeps me grounded and teaches me love, patience and understanding. My heart is happy because of her.

Don Barnaby couple

Top 5 favorite drumming groups (in no particular order): Mystic River Singers, Black Bear, Bear Creek, Northern Cree and Midnight Express.

‘The good life’ means: Living my life in a sacred manner through sobriety and ceremony. Accepting the love of friends and family. Working hard to put a roof over my head and food in my belly, and being able to take care of my loved ones. And finally… dancing until I’m sore and barely able to walk. That’s the best feeling!

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