This weekend marks the 17th Annual All Nations Pow Wow & Gathering at York University

Photograph by Marissa Magneson

The Aboriginal Student Association of York University (ASAY) in collaboration with the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services will present the second annual Métis Jig Jam and the 17th Annual York University All Nations Pow Wow & Gathering, March 15 and March 16. Both events will take place in Conference Room A2 in the Second Student Centre at York University’s Keele Campus.

On Friday, March 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., ASAY presents the Métis Jig Jam. Join traditional Métis musicians and dancers for this high-energy event. Featured at the jig jam are artists Alicia and Liam Blore. Alicia is a prominent Métis fiddler. Liam accompanies his sister with guitar, spoons and jigging. Also present at the jig jam will be Megan Southwell, an accomplished jigger. The traditional opening will be delivered by the distinguished Métis academic Alis Kennedy, O.Ont., C.D., O.M.C. This year’s Métis cultural gathering feature a feast catered by Buffet °5, featuring vegetarian options.

On Saturday, March 16, from 12 to 5 p.m., ASAY presents the All Nations Pow Wow & Gathering. The All Nations Pow Wow begins with the Grand Entry. The host drum group will be Young Creek with co-host drum Smoketrail. Invited drums include Coldwater Ojibway and water drum Old Mush. Head dancers will be Kyle LaForme and Raven Morand.

Following the pow wow, there will be a one-hour break and then a gala reception and feast featuring Indigenous cuisine will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the same location. Entertainment will be provided by the group Manifest Destiny’s Child. As with previous years, the event is family friendly, free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome. Indigenous arts and crafts vendors will also be at the pow wow.

Indigenous communities from across the province travel to the Keele Campus for this event, which is one of the most highly anticipated and best attended pow wows of the year. Last year’s pow wow brought hundreds of participants to the Keele Campus and this year promises to be just as popular.

For more information, visit the All Nations Pow Wow & Gathering Facebook page.

More about the history of Pow Wows

Pow wows in North America have a long history spanning hundreds of years. The dancing and drumming featured at pow wows has a dual purpose, serving as entertainment and as a key role in conveying traditional teachings. Those who dance do so for not only those who are present at the event, but for those who cannot dance, the frail, the elderly and the missing.

Prior to the First World War, Indigenous peoples in Canada were not permitted to attend these demonstrations of culture and expression. In 1951, changes to the Federal Indian Act allowed pow wows to go ahead without interference. Contemporary pow wows advance expression of Indigenous culture, knowledge and healing.