Saskatoon

Hundreds gather at powwow to celebrate aboriginal graduates

Aboriginal university and high school students are being celebrated today at the University of Saskatchewan's annual graduation powwow.

U of S has hosted annual event for more than 20 years

Aboriginal students were celebrated today at the University of Saskatchewan's annual graduation powwow. 0:36

Aboriginal university and high school students are being celebrated today at the University of Saskatchewan's annual graduation powwow.

More than 360 U of S aboriginal students have applied to graduate this June. They were honoured during a special ceremony at noon.

More than 1,700 children from schools across the province attended, including 304 Grade 12 aboriginal graduates, who were also honoured at the powwow.

"I feel honoured, I feel proud of me and my fellow classmates," high school graduate Shadee Bighetty said. 

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      Bighetty said it took her six years to graduate from Oskayak High School in Saskatoon because she faced a number of challenges.

      "I didn't have the best living conditions. I always had to move so Oskayak gave me the chance to graduate with the adult program," Bighetty said. "I'm so happy they gave me that chance."

      High school graduate Leon Sanderson said he faced a number of challenges as well, including homelessness as well as drug and alcohol addictions.

      "There's a lot of stereotypes of aboriginal guys especially, so that's why I wanted to be a role model cause I never really had any aboriginal role models growing up," Sanderson said.

      The U of S has hosted the annual Graduation Powwow for more than 20 years 

      Hundreds of dancers, drummers and singers of all ages from across North America are taking part in competitions throughout the day, with $25,000 in prize money to be awarded.

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