My personal experience at my first ever powwow was definitely memorable. Reading about powwows to watching them on Youtube, definitely did not compare to what it actually is in real life. I felt the joy, happiness and celebration everyone had, and that excitement cannot be felt by reading about it or watching a video. I learned so much about powwows, traditional Indigenous dances, and more about the culture than ever because I was actually experiencing and learning from it first-hand. Experiencing many families coming together, people from all ages - children, men, and women. It was wonderful to see many strangers just join in, dance together and celebrate with everyone. It was truly a revitalization of culture

It began at 11:00am with a Grand Entry, followed by an outstanding showcase of various dancers of different categories (Women’s/Men’s Traditional, Women’s/Men’s Fancy, Jingle, Grass, etc.). Each category displayed their unique dance styles, which was incredible to watch. After that, Sister of All Nations, a women’s hand drum group based from Western University, performed; and following that, there was a Smoke Dance Competition. We watched spot dances, switch dances, potato dances, crow hops, two steps…etc., the list can go on! There was a Hoop Dance Special, a giveaway, the Final Song, then the Grand Exit. After that, there were pay outs, a feast, and it ended with a Haudenosaunee Social.

As well, there were numerous booths we were able to check out. In particular, Jennifer George was an artist that created beautiful art pieces made of tiny beads, for instance this piece was called “Sunset Wolf”. Such incredible bedding artwork! 

​This whole event definitely had an enormous amount of planning that went into it, and to see the various roles everyone had, from volunteers, to vendors, to dancers and singers, to the attendees; we all came together to enjoy, learn and celebrate the culture together in unity.   

My First Powwow

Imagine this…

Singers, dancers, numerous booths, food, laughter, and celebration; all that combined together at one large event. This image that you have in your head will not even come close to how it really is in real life, until you’ve actually experienced it. This huge event I am describing, had the privilege of attending and helping out with was Western University’s 10th Annual Powwow.

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, we had the opportunity to volunteer at Western University’s 10th Annual Powwow through hosting our AYP booth. This annual powwow is the largest powwow organized in Southwestern Ontario by Western University’s First Nations Students Association, with over 500+ attendees each year. 

March 20, 2016

Written by: Hunster Yang

This experience was extremely educational as I was immersed into the Indigenous culture, and was able to learn first-hand teachings from the Southwestern Ontario Indigenous community. I cannot wait to attend another powwow and other events to self-educate about Indigenous culture, ways of knowing and traditions. This was my first powwow, but definitely not my last!


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