Conestoga’s Indigenous Services (Be-Dah-Bin Gamik) welcomed viewers from around the world to the college’s Annual Traditional Pow Wow on March 26.
The event was live-streamed through Facebook from Thru the RedDoor production studio located at Six Nations of the Grand River and featured dancers, singers and drummers. Celebrating its twelfth year, Conestoga’s pow wow is a marriage of celebration and ceremony intended to build relationships, maintain partnerships and preserve culture.
“Welcome to the 2022 Conestoga College annual pow wow,” said Christina Restoule, Indigenous Services coordinator at the college’s Kitchener-Doon campus, during opening remarks. “We are twelve years young and going strong.”
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 Indigenous Conestoga students and employees an opportunity to come together in celebration, connect with the community, and practice traditions and teachings.
“I’d like to thank everyone for tuning in today,” said Clarence Cachagee, Indigenous Services coordinator at the college’s Waterloo campus, following Restoule’s opening remarks. “I believe the best gift we can ever give is the gift of time, so I want to thank everybody who is here: the dancers, the drummers, in front of the scenes and behind the scenes, and everybody tuning in, for gifting us with some of your time.”
The Annual Traditional Pow Wow was sponsored by 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.