On February 27, Conestoga’s Aboriginal Services (Be-Dah-Bin Gamik) welcomed viewers from around the world to the college’s Annual Traditional Pow Wow. A marriage of celebration and ceremony, the event intended to build relationships, maintain partnerships and preserve culture.
Conestoga’s Be-Dah-Bin Gamik welcomed viewers virtually from around the world to the college’s eleventh Annual Traditional Pow Wow on February 27.
Celebrating its eleventh year, Conestoga’s pow wow was hosted virtually to adhere to public health guidelines amid the global pandemic. Streamed live through Facebook, the event featured dancers, singers and drummers from across North America performing at home.
“I have been fortunate to have been at the college for a number of years, and what we’ve seen over time is a growing knowledge and skill within the world of pow wow here,” said Myeengun Henry, manager of Aboriginal Services, in his opening remarks. “Today, we’d like to say to all those who came to visit us in this virtual way, it’s an honour to have you here.”
Traditionally an in-person event, Conestoga’s annual pow wow invites the public to celebrate with drumming, dancing, singing, traditional food and artisans to encourage a stronger understanding of Indigenous cultures and build a sense of community. The event also offers an opportunity for the more than 500 Conestoga students that self-identify as Indigenous to come together in celebration, connect with the community, and practice traditions and teachings.
“Today, Conestoga is happy to celebrate with you once again, and we will do the best we can,” Henry continued. “There might be some technical issues and there might be a little bit of difference in how you normally see a pow wow, but we’re going to continue. This pandemic is not going to stop us from dancing and being together, and we’re happy to be able to provide this for you.”
The Annual Traditional Pow Wow was sponsored this year by the Region of Waterloo and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) -- a long-term partner and supporter of the college, its programs and students.
Conestoga’s Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, a Place of New Beginnings, provides services and ongoing supports for Indigenous students to assist with a smooth transition to college life. Services include a range of social and cultural events and activities, traditional counselling, and Elders-in-Residence programs.
A recording of the eleventh Annual Traditional Pow Wow is available through Facebook.