The 14th annual McGill Powwow took place on the university’s lower field September 18 with a full day of traditional dancing and drumming. The event has always been a great way for McGill students to browse artisan vendors, learn about student groups, and connect with Indigenous organizations. There was something for everyone including intertribal dancing, Inuit throat singing, Métis jigging, hoop dancing and tipi teachings.
Hosted by the First Peoples’ House of McGill, coordinator Paige Isaac thought the powwow was a great success. “We had beautiful weather – probably the best yet. Great feedback from our many guests and visitors who think the powwow keeps getting bigger and better.”
For the past 14 years, the powwow has been teaching the McGill community about Native traditions. “Ray Deer and Lance Delisle did a great job at teaching everyone about powwow protocol and the different dances,” explained Isaac. “There was diversity in the programming allowing for many cultural exchanges.”
Besides the powwow dancers and drummers, there was a blanket dance for a young Mi’gmaq boy who is dealing with the recurrence of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer. “It warms the heart to witness acts of kindness like this,” said Isaac.
Marci-Nakuset Shapiro, the executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and co-chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network, stated, “The McGill powwow is an incredible event that continues to impress, year after year. The coordinators are able to balance the event by highlighting First Nations, Inuit and Métis talent, as well as programming directed to the youth. It has a great reputation, because of its positive energy and enthusiasm. The urban Aboriginal community in Montreal is lucky to have this annual event.”
Judging by the attendance at this year’s powwow it succeeding in its goal as an educational tool at McGill University.