Manito Ahbee Grand Entry 2010 (Scott Benesiinaabandan)
The Manito Ahbee festival kicked off on Wednesday, but before it even began, staff here at CBC Manitoba took in a Pow Wow 101 lesson from dancer Joanne Soldier. CBC is a proud sponsor of the festival and each year we think up new ways to make connections between the Aboriginal community and our CBC audience. We think it's really important that everyone feels comfortable going to the Pow Wow. In the first of a series of blogs this week, we asked a couple of our non-Aboriginal staff to share what they learned from Joanne.
Larry Updike, host of Up to Speed:
Winnipeg is about to witness a great week of cultural events! I'm talking about Aboriginal Music Week, Manito Ahbee and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. Ahead of the Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, it was a pleasure to relive the experience during a seminar conducted by Joanne Soldier.
Complete with stew, bannock and beverages, Joanne walked the uninitiated through the different dimensions of the Pow Wow. She talked about its origins, the two main types of Pow Wow - traditional and contemporary - and the outfits and regalia associated with the ceremonies. (They are not called costumes!) Joanne also walked us through the significance of the Grand Entry, plus the various dances and singing styles.
Many of the different types of dances performed at a Pow Wow are descended from the dances of the Plains tribes of Canada and the United States. My father, artist Lee R. Updike, grew up in northern Saskatchewan. Among other works, he has published books and articles throughout much of his life devoted to his knowledge of and acceptance by people of Aboriginal culture. As a result, images of these dances are familiar to me. I have some of those illustrations on my wall next to me as I write.
Aside from those for the opening and closing of a Pow Wow session, a common dance is the intertribal where anyone who wants to can come and dance. This is a time to join in a celebration unselfconsciously and have fun. No one will judge you!
Donna Lee, CBC reporter:
I've got to make a confession: I've never been to a powwow before, at least not in person. I've seen the posters inviting people to attend, but I've always thought like I'd be an outsider at such events. After all, I'm a Chinese Canadian who grew up in a small town near Winnipeg. Would I be welcome in such a strong cultural and spiritual event?