Residents at St. Paul’s University College woke up to drumming, dancing, and revelry on Saturday, September 27 — these were the sounds of a traditional pow wow, not your typical alarm clock.
The pow wow, held at the St. Paul’s Green, was organized by the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre. The event brought together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike for a day of dancing, celebration, and food. “Everyone is invited,” said Jo-Anne Absolon, Waterloo Aboriginal Education Coordinator, “adults, children, babies, families, staff, students, and tourists.”
The event featured traditional drum groups, dancers, and craft vendors. Activities and demonstrations were available to those wanting to learn more about traditional Aboriginal culture. “Our pow wow is both an educational and cultural celebration,” said Absolon. “We have workshops within St. Paul’s while the pow wow celebration is going on.”
The pow wow started at sunrise with the lighting of a sacred fire by Fire Keeper Al MacDonald. The Grand Entry, a ritual marking the beginning of a pow wow, was at noon, followed by the Closing Ceremonies which occurred at 5 pm. Myeengun Henry was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.
This marks the 11th year of the growing festival, which saw the addition of a mini pow wow event during Open Streets Uptown Waterloo early last month, which was sponsored by the Region of Waterloo.
Pow wows are traditional gatherings where Aboriginal people meet, dance, and tell stories. The pow wow is both a social and spiritual event that brings together nations from different locations speaking many languages.
In closing I want to say “‘Chi-Miigwetch’ [a big thank you] to all the dancers who were kind enough to pose for a picture,”