Conestoga news

February 11, 2019 7:34 AM

Pow Wow 101 workshops explore Indigenous culture

In preparation for Conestoga’s ninth annual traditional Pow Wow on Saturday, February 23, the college’s Aboriginal Services team will host Pow Wow 101 workshops for event volunteers and members of the Conestoga community interested in learning more about pow wow etiquette.

“There’s a misconception that you need to be Indigenous to attend pow wow,” said Christina Restoule, Aboriginal Services manager, during a pow wow workshop on January 31. “Pow wow is a happy celebration between celebration and ceremony ... the community is opening its door to invite everyone in. It’s part of the Indigenous culture that allows us to learn and grow together.”

At the workshop in January, students who will volunteer at the event learned more about pow wow protocol and etiquette, and had an opportunity to ask questions about Indigenous culture.

Workshop attendees discovered more about the significance of the grand entry where all dancers enter the arena, the types of dances that will be performed, and the scents that are often associated with pow wow including sage, cedar and sweet grass. Restoule also explained that every dancer’s regalia -- the ceremonial clothing worn during pow wow -- is as unique as their thumbprint as no two are ever the same. 

Conestoga’s pow wow, supported by a team of more than 20 volunteers, kicks off pow wow season in southern Ontario and will be a full-day family-friendly celebration at the college’s Doon campus featuring drumming, singing, dancing, artisans, traditional food and a sacred fire.

Approximately 30 Indigenous vendors will be on site, and lunch will feature items like bison burgers and wild rice salads. The day will conclude with a feast that is open to all attendees.

Aboriginal Services will host additional Pow Wow 101workshops at Doon during the weeks of February 11 and 18 that are open to members of the Conestoga community.

For more information about Conestoga’s Pow Wow, visit the event listing.

Conestoga's Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, a Place of New Beginnings, provides services for Aboriginal students at Conestoga, including those who are First Nations (status and non-status), Metis and Inuit. It is a welcoming environment that assists students with a smooth transition to college life by providing ongoing support. Services include social and cultural events and activities, counselling services, Elders-in-Residence programs and the Aboriginal Student Association.