Three-day celebration of First Nations and academia starts Thursday

The 11th annual celebration of First Nations will get underway Thursday with an array of entertainment.

The three-day event, Graduation Nation: Celebrating Indigeneity & Academia, organized by the Aboriginal Students Association at York and the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services, will run from Feb. 28 to March 2.

PowWowThe festivities will include traditional indigenous singing, dancing and dramatic performances; a conference reflecting the voices of indigenous students, faculty and supporters; and vendors displaying Native arts and crafts.

Pow Wow head dancers in Vari Hall

The event will feature a host of performers, including traditional Inuit throat singers Jennifer and Raigelee Alorut, multidisciplinary artist Cherly L’Hirondelle, dancers Steve Teekens and Stephanie Pangowish, and 2010 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award-winning drummers Chippewa Travellers.

The opening ceremony will be on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 1 to 3pm in the Bear Pit, Central Square, Keele campus, featuring performances by the Métis Fiddler Quartet and members of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

The Knowledge in Sharing Stories Conference will take place Friday, March 1, from in Room 430, Student Centre, with guest speakers Lee Maracle and Cherie Dimaline.

On Saturday, March 2, a traditional powwow will be the feature event from noon to 5pm in Vari Hall, followed by a community feast at 5:30pm at The Underground Restaurant. A gala reception, from 7 to 10pm at The Underground Restaurant, will cap off the celebrations and will include participants performing in various dance styles, from men’s Grass and Fancy to women’s Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress.