Aboriginal powwow held at Humber North

Nov 19, 2012 | News

By Matt Creed, Ryan Saundercook and Lisa Gillan

Coinciding with Aboriginal Appreciation Month, Humber’s North campus held its annual pow wow on Monday in a celebration of Aboriginal culture, clothing, music and dance. Ryan Saundercook has the story.


Those in attendance at the powwow included Aboriginal dancers, drummers and vendors. Crowd members were invited to participate in many of the dances.

The campus cafeteria was filled with dancers and the sound of drums as the Aboriginal student services hosted their annual powwow celebration.

“You probably know Humber College is situated on the Humber River,” said Chris Whitaker, president and CEO of Humber College.

“The Humber River has historical significance for our aboriginal people because it was a main travel route connecting the first nations of the lower great lakes to the upper great lakes for thousands of years.”

The dancers took part to share their culture at the Monday event held to coincide with Aboriginal education month.

“I want to see everybody up dancing and participating in the powwow today,” Whitaker said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Juanita Newby was one of the dancers taking part in the event.

“When I’m up doing non-traditional dances I do my own style,” she said to Humber News.

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Newby came from Clarington, east of Toronto, to be at the event but is originally  from Newfoundland.

“All my dances pertain to my homeland,” she said.

Newby uses a fan made of eagle feathers given to her by her brothers from Newfoundland during her dances.

“I use the feather to honour everything on the Earth, and everything above the Earth and everything below the Earth,” she said.

Amber Wynne was selling skin care products from small scale, locally owned production companies.

“I started vending at York University,” she told Humber News.

“I’m trying to branch out into the community by doing powwows.”

Wynne is currently in the process of making an outfit worn while participating in the powwow.

Wynne said hers won’t likely be done for about a year.

“It takes a lot of work,” she said.

Wynne said powwows are always a combination of different tribes, and very inclusive.

“It brings family, friends, and strangers together in an environment that’s very safe,” Wynne said.