McGill set to celebrate return to in-person pow-wow tomorrow

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McGill University is set to mark Indigenous Awareness Weeks with a return to in-person pow-wows tomorrow on the university’s west field just inside the Roddick Gates. One of the organizers of the event said she is excited to get back to life as we know it.

“I’m very excited,” McGill University’s First Peoples House administrative co-ordinator Dana-Marie Williams said. “It’s our first in-person pow-wow since the pandemic and it’s going to be fun to see everybody again, for sure.”

It’s the 21st version of the McGill pow-wow, but the 19th and 20th versions were scaled-down affairs held mostly virtually, Williams said, so a return to in-person activities, with more than 35 vendors from all across Quebec, a number of food vendors, drummers, dancers and the Ottawa River Singers, the event promises to have something for everyone all afternoon.

What better way to spend a beautiful Friday afternoon in September than making your way to the Roddick Gates at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and McGill College Avenue?

“It’s great to be back on campus again for this,” Williams said. “There are new professors, new students and we haven’t had a lot of occasions to do this for a while, with the exceptions of the Echoes of a Proud Nation Pow-Wow in Kahnawake last summer,” and a similar, recent event at Concordia University.

The message Williams wants to send to the community is twofold: first, she said, “just come. It’s a beautiful campus and it’s really nice near the Roddick Gates, and it’s going to be a vibrant, wonderful time,” she said.

Second: take the metro if possible – parking at Angrignon is a stress-free way to get to McGill by metro, Williams said – and parking downtown is always at a premium and can be costly.

The event is just part of the ways McGill University is marking its Indigenous Awareness Weeks(IAW), Williams said – for a full rundown of the events, please visit www.mcgill.ca – but in the past, the pow-wow served as either an opening or a closing event for the IAW.

This year, it’s smack dab in the middle, making it a centrepiece of the entire experience.

“That’s different this year,” Williams said. “It’s really cool to have it right in the middle of Indigenous Awareness Weeks and we are so excited to welcome everyone to campus for it.”

The 21st annual McGill University pow-wow will be held tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the lower west field of McGill University and will be held rain or shine. For more information, call the First People’s House at McGill University at 514-398-3217.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase