‘All are welcome’: All-Nations Powwow a first for UTM
On March 25, UTM will hold its inaugural All-Nations Powwow. The event is being co-hosted by University of Toronto Mississauga's Indigenous Centre and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN).
“This Powwow is such an exciting opportunity to celebrate the beauty, joy, and vitality of Indigenous cultures,” said Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President and Principal of UTM. “It also marks another step in realizing UTM’s central commitment to reciprocity, as we work to build true friendships with Indigenous Nations and answer the Calls to Action for Truth and Reconciliation.”
“We want to say chi miigwech for taking time out of your life to (attend) the event, learning about Mississaugas of the Credit/Mississauga Nation history, language and culture and for UTM making space for us to be here on our territory to celebrate through a Powwow,” said MCFN councillor Veronica King-Jamieson. “This provides an opportunity to build on relationships within our communities across Ontario.”
Doors open at 11 a.m., with events running until 5 p.m. in the Recreation, Athletic & Wellness Centre (RAWC).
The schedule features a full day of traditional singing and dancing including a Grand Entry ceremony at noon as well as intertribal, spot and exhibition dances.
At 2 p.m., dancers will compete in the Tia Lyn Copenace Jingle Dress Dance Special. Jingle dresses – known as prayer dresses – are believed to bring healing to those who are ill.
When the UTM Office of Indigenous Initiatives first opened last year, director Tee Duke named hosting the Powwow as a priority.
“The Powwow was brought to the attention of the OII-UTM Team back in Fall 2020 but then we had to shift our focus to navigating the pandemic,” Duke said. “A Powwow is a huge social gathering, so it was important to wait to ensure we could all be together again – in person and safely.”
In addition to performances, the Powwow will also have a range of tables featuring Indigenous-owned businesses with products including apparel, artwork, jewelry and food items. There will also be booths sharing information from Indigenous community groups and U of T services.
The UTM food court, and Gourmet Guyz and Northcorner food trucks, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Powwow is part of the campus’s ongoing commitment to meet the recommendations of U of T’s Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee Report, Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin.
“Sincere thanks to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for the privilege of co-hosting this event with them,” said Gillespie.
Although a celebration of Indigenous community, history, ceremony and culture, Duke noted it is open to the wider community.
“All are welcome to attend,” said Duke. “Powwows are for everyone to take in opportunities to build friendship with one another."
Pre-registration is highly recommended, but not required.
Events will be held inside the RAWC. Entry and parking are free in nearby lots P4, P8 and P11.
For more information, visit the All-Nations Powwow site.
Information on Powwow protocols and etiquette can be found on that site.
Those wishing to join in during the intertribal dance are invited to learn basic steps from the Powwow’s Head Adult Dancer, Deanne Hupfield.