By Charlotte Hillyard-Baker
Aboriginal Education Month was celebrated at Humber College today with a pow wow in the Student Centre.
Shelley Charles, an Elder and Manager of Aboriginal Resource Centre at Humber College, organized the event to bring awareness to aboriginal celebrations.
“November is Aboriginal Education Month in the GTA with the Toronto District school board and many other school boards and here at Humber we wanted to have a month where we could do activities, like native activities, but also include the entire student body,” Charles said.
“One of those activities supports the pow wow and a social and we have people from all nations dancing together. So it’s really the most understanding of family and that we are all related no matter where we come from. We’re all related through creation,” she said.
For people who don’t know much about aboriginal traditions, including pow wows, Charles said it can be an opportunity to learn more.
“When you come to a traditional pow wow, which is what this one is, you’re more than welcome to come dance when they call for inter-tribal dance, everybody gets up and dances,” Charles said.
“The one thing that they do ask is that you don’t touch the dancers’ regalia because they have worked really hard on that and it’s part of their creative expression,” Charles added. “Otherwise, just come out and have a good time and look at some of the vendors; some creations that they made.”
Charles explained the difference between the regalia’s that are worn for dancing.
“A regalia is an outfit for a very specific dance,” Charles said. “So you’ll see some of the girls are wearing cones, their regalia is a jingle dress. You’ve got some of the younger guys wearing the long roaches down, they’re doing the chicken dance, which comes from the west; from the prairies.
Charles also said the fancier shawl dresses “mimic the way the winds move in the grass.” In addition, the male dancers wearing yarn moved in a similar fashion, performing the “grass dance.”