Arts & Entertainment

Published on December 2, 2015 | by Madison Parker     Photography by Isabella Villani


Dancing, drums and waking up in Wigwamen

First Nations drums sounded all November long while Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber participated in celebrating Aboriginal Education Month.

Humber was just one of the many schools and organizations that participated in the annual celebration. The month of events were hosted by Humber’s Aboriginal Resource Centre. This year was the school’s fourth year in celebrating all nations in Aboriginal Education Month and they welcomed all students to observe and participate in the fun.

The resource centre’s coordinator of special projects, Grace Esquega, said it’s a learning experience for the month. “It’s just to add awareness for our culture and for everyone to learn about what we have to offer,” she said.

Esquega was present at the All Nations Pow Wow that took place in the Humber food emporium, along with many students who stopped to watch and join in the dancing and games.

The pow wow host and First Nations drummer, Danny “Biindigaygizhig” Deleary, explained the styles of dance and music being performed. “Pow wows are about being together…When these drums sound and these dancers dance, that’s what they’re connecting themselves to,” he said.

Dancer Lorralene Whiteye said she loves dancing and she loves her culture. “It makes me feel at home. Everybody’s so friendly and it’s just like family coming together and celebrating,” she said of going to pow wows.

Activities and shows to promote Aboriginal culture welcomed all students. The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s First Story bus tour, the annual Wake up in Wigwamen breakfast and the traditional art show being just a few of the festivities.

Humber’s Aboriginal liaison officer, Quazance Boissoneau, said the goal was to get people thinking and asking questions. “It’s a safe month to engage in different aspects of our culture and to get rid of stigmas and misconceptions,” she said.

First Nations people face many false assumptions when it comes to how they live and how they are treated. Emma Petahtegoose, an aboriginal student at Humber, said that education month is to show people the different sides of First Nations people. “We have a traditional side, but we’re not spiritual 24-7,” she said.

Petahtegoose explains that people think First Nations are drunken Indians who get free stuff from the government. “That’s not what we’re about. Some of us don’t have the proper resources, which is why we use this month to promote education.”

Even though education month has come to an end, the resource centre welcomes all students with questions to come to the centre for more information.

“We can do everything you can, there are no limits to who we are,” said Petahtegoose.

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is a third year Media Studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber.

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