A friend of mine told me the other day that he wanted to go to the 37th annual First Nations University of Canada Powwow in Regina this past weekend, but wasn’t sure if non-Indigenous people were allowed to go. This reminded me of an interview we did with First Nations elder Maria Linklater for the Stories of Integration Project.
Born on Thunderchild First Nation, Linklater moved to the city of Thunder Bay and brought her cultural traditions with her. She did craftwork, held feasts and taught people how to make quilts and do beadwork. Linklater told us it’s important to her that we “enjoy one another’s way of life.”
Keeping in line with this philosophy, the FNUC powwow was open to anyone with an interest in attending. As Elder Linklater said, “Come and join us when we have feasts, when we have round dances, and have an open mind.”
As a non-Indigenous person, I had the honour of attending the powwow this past weekend with friends. It was powerful to watch the more than 650 registered dancers fill the Brandt centre stadium during Grand Entry, to smell the burning sweetgrass and to enjoy the sound of the traditional drummers and singers.