Pow-wow highlight of Culture Days

by | Oct 14, 2016 | Lakeshore

Daniel Caudle


The drums began their rhythmic beating, the singers began their songs, and the dancers broke out into traditional dances from their tribes.

Voices at the pow-wow hushed during the spectacle performed by Ojibwe, Inuit, Metis, Mohawk and Cree nations during Culture Days at the Assembly Hall near Humber College’s Lakeshore campus.

As is tradition the pow-wow began with a smudge, which is a smoke bath used for purification of thoughts and ushers in good feelings.

The event marks a turning point in Native American culture as it opens its doors to the community to embrace a culture few people experience. Allowing people from all different backgrounds come together to experience this offers a positive impact on the community.

“This event helps First Nations people see their culture being celebrated and excepted by so many people,” said Aboriginal resource center coordinator Grace Esquega. “It’s open for all ages, and open for people to express and be proud of who they are.”

The spirits of everyone involved and those attending was as high as ever although the damp weather forced the pow-wow to be held indoors. With each tribe came a different style of dance and a different outfit that coincided with the region they were from.

The three-hour long event featured warrior style dancing, jingle style dancing, as well as rain and smoke dancing. But the feature dance was a hoop dance, preformed by using traditional hoops swung in such a way they create shapes through the movement of dance.

Included in the festivities was a free-to-make dream catcher station, areas to purchase authentic Native American apparel and booths selling homemade food.

“First Nations people are givers, we love to give at ceremonies, it is our custom,” said the master of ceremonies Biindigaygizhig Deleary, also known as Beans.

Throughout the event different dances took place as a way to honor the tribes in which the First Nations people originated from.

“This event helps to build aboriginal awareness and respect for all people when we have these celebrations,” said Humber Elder and advisor for Aboriginal resources Shelly Charles.

Guest were asked to form a line and were given a present as a thank you for coming to experience this special time.

The tradition of giving has long been a staple of Native American culture, and people both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal were able to have a piece of first nations culture to remind them of the event.

“I really enjoy these pow-wows, I’ve been to four or five now in my life,” said Gail Symmons, a volunteer at the Assembly Hall. “ I enjoy learning about the culture, and this has lead me to really appreciate the culture.”

North campus hosts the next pow-wow on Nov. 17.