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Powwow primer

Woman in traditional clothing performing powwow
What you need to know to make the most of this tradition

With bright swirls of colour and the beat of the drums, powwows are powerful celebrations of First Nations culture.

“Our annual powwow is a welcome celebration,” says Larry Gauthier, Coordinator, Chinook Lodge Resource Centre. “It’s the beginning of a new path for students and is a way for our institution to show support for Indigenous learners.

“We encourage students, employees and community members to participate, and there are a few things they should know to make the most of their experience.”

Powwow etiquette:

  • Drums are the heartbeat of a powwow — and some drums have traditions dictating they can never be left unattended. Please enjoy the music without touching the instruments.
  • Photographs are generally permitted during the dances, but please ask permission before taking pictures of individual dancers. If a sacred event is taking place, the MC will announce that photos are not permitted.
  • Please give the dancers room to perform and watch from outside the arena. The exception is when Inter-tribal dances are called — at that point you are invited to come into the arena to participate in the dance.
  • The clothing worn by the dancers is called regalia. Some articles are extremely old or sacred, so please do not touch without permission.
  • The Grand Entry opens the powwow. Please stand while the flags are carried by SAIT students, followed by chiefs and elders.
  • Powwows are celebrations — have fun!

Come out to SAIT’s powwow on Thursday, Sept. 19 on the Cohos Common field from 11 am to 3 pm. The Grand Entry will start at 11 am.

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