Annual powwow welcomes back students for school year
- EFN Staff | September 25, 2018
The annual Tony Cote ‘Welcome Back’ Powwow at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) is a time where students are honoured and also gives non-Indigenous people a chance to experience Indigenous culture.
Jim Daschuk, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology in Health Studies at the University of Regina, brought his class of 112 students to partake in this year’s powwow held at Regina’s campus.
“I wanted the students to experience some positive things like the powwow,” he said. “I’ve asked them to write a five-page reflection on their experience. Most of my students have never been to a powwow.”
Daschuk’s students’ assignment was based on their thoughts and observations as a writing exercise rather than a research paper. In the classes he teaches, he gives 5% for an out of class experience rather than him lecturing about Indigenous peoples. In fact, some of his students had volunteered to help set up the powwow where art installations have been unveiled inside the tipis made by various FNUniv artists.
“The students have been blown away by the artwork,” he added. “So, I’ve sent them around [the tipis] to check out the installations. A lot of them said they didn’t know what to expect and they were moved.”
Cami Schettler, a first year U of R kinesiology student, attended her first powwow and was taken away by the whole experience.
“Personally, I’ve never been to one before and I’m in love. It [was] so awesome to see how everything is done in [Indigenous] traditions. It was an eye-opener,” she said.
Schettler along with her classmates each carried a notepad and took notes for their assignment and they included questions and comments on what they don’t know or understood about the event. It was something that FNUniv Student Association President Lucy Musqua helped to promote non-Indigenous student inclusion.
“The powwow [brings people] to come together to honour the students,” said Musqua. “It was a great way to start the new school year.”
She added it was absolutely wonderful and much need to see non-Indigenous students take in the experience of a powwow. She hopes other institutions will continue attending the powwow each year.
“[We] hoped that students even non-Indigenous students got to experience some of the Indigenous culture,” she said.
There were five drum groups and about 30 dancers that participated in the annual powwow event.