Powwow renamed to honour FNUniv Elder
- Jamin Mike and Morgan Esperance | September 18, 2015
This year marks the second annual powwow that has been renamed to the Tony Cote Welcome Back powwow to honor the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) elder and also to welcome back the new and returning students in Regina.
Elder Cote retired at FNUniv last year and he says he feels wonderful being back to the institution.
“I miss the students, I miss the staff and everybody else; it was a wonderful place for me to work,” he says.
Cote worked with FNUniv for eleven years and was one of the co-founders along with the late David Ahenakew. It was the student’s idea to rename the annual campus powwow to honor the elder because of his contribution to the university and the students.
FNUniv President of the Student Association, Brad Bellegarde, says the powwow is a great way to start off the academic year for the students.
“They come in one week they are bombarded with expectations by the professors,” says Bellegarde. “They have an opportunity to come and just get away from that academic mind stead and welcoming community members...people come and dance and take part.”
That’s why FNUniv student and powwow dancer, Jolene Creely, participates in the campus celebration.
“It feels like home when I’m out there dancing in my jingle dress, it feels really good to connect with my spirit and with other people’s positive vibes,” says the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) princess, who has been dancing for three years.
Creely is a first-year university student studying Indian Communication Arts (INCA) and says the celebration brings people together.
Such spectators like Hunter Lambie, who is also a first-year student came with her Indigenous health class.
“I really enjoy the drums and watching people dance… powwows are great to come and watch. [It’s to] experience a different kind of culture and learn,” she says.
Elder Cote agrees saying how it’s great to see the new students attending the powwow and taking classes at the university.
“It’s an integrated place…we have students from other countries,” he adds. “I’m proud of this place and I hope it just keeps going.”