For its first pow-wow, Concordia University is betting on education

Today’s meeting, of course, allows us to celebrate all Indigenous cultures, but it is also an opportunity to highlight First Nations, Inuit and Métis students at Concordia University.he said Zornicka Fayard, one of the organizers of the pow-wow and a member of the Cree Nation of Mistissini.

He explains that the pow-wow, which the university wants, and which is organized by the Otsenhákta Student Center, is the result of an ongoing effort on the part of Concordia’s indigenous community.

This first pow-wow is a big step for Concordia in presenting our identity. It is now hoped that this gathering will be celebrated every year.

The powwow tied with 30e anniversary of the Otsenhákta center, which is entirely dedicated to indigenous students. This university resource of help and support, whose name means in the Mohawk language near the fireis a gathering place.

The powwow brought together natives from different communities.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ismaël Houdassine

Zornicka Fayard adds that while Aboriginal students have long struggled against underrepresentation in Canadian universities, the university community has made efforts in recent years considerable to change the situation. He also notes the growing interest from the population.

Non-Aboriginal students are increasingly interested in learning more about our communities. Many are now aware of the pain and trauma we have suffered throughout history.

It is important that students, faculty and staff recognize that Indigenous peoples have been an integral part of Concordia University since its founding. »

Quote from Zornicka Fayard, pow-wow organizer

Concordia President Graham Carr, who was on hand, was delighted that such an event could take place on campus. This is of vital importance to us as our institution welcomes a significant number of domestic studentshe says.


Graham Carr is president of Concordia University.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ismaël Houdassine

Mr. Carr clarifies that the organization of the pow-wow also allows it to play an educational role with the entire university community. People come here to learn about First Nations, Inuit and Métis identities. It is an incredible place of exchange.

For Delbert Samson, a native of British Columbia, the powwow is a cultural ceremony offered to younger generations. We share our knowledge and expertise in a community of mindshe said. It is our way of connecting with our spiritual heritage.

Woman and man dressed in costume.

Jean Stevenson and Delbert Samson came to attend Concordia University’s first pow-wow.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ismaël Houdassine

The 71-year-old elder came with Jean Stevenson, a member of the Manitoba Cree First Nation. He also thinks that attending a pow-wow on a college campus allows students to have a tangible and concrete vision of the diversity of Native communities.

Participating in a celebration and seeing with your own eyes how culture is expressed through song and dance is a wonderful opportunity. Thanks to this, the experience will come alive for everyone.

It’s also a matter of healing, notes Delbert Samson. An Indian boarding school survivor himself, he says the powwow is a a sacred moment which allows several participants to heal the wounds of history through a return to the sources.

This is proof of our resilience. We need more powwows across the country. It is through encounters and openness to others that human beings can hope not to reproduce the mistakes of the past.concludes.

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