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Celebrate the colourful pageantry of Aboriginal culture at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Powwow 2013Always a highlight of the fall season, the sixth annual Youth Exhibition Powwow at Okanagan College boasts some new features this year, making it the most culturally rich event to date.

In addition to the First Nation’s singing, drumming, dancing and colourful regalia that takes over the courtyard of Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 18, there will also be a traditional meal of bannock and deer stew offered to all guests and participants. 

“The sharing of food is an integral part of our traditions,” says Okanagan College’s Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator, Anthony Isaac. “The elders coming to campus and blessing the food really highlights how important it is to the whole celebration.” 

The serving of the meal has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the community, including Urban Harvest, SunRype and the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, along with campus supporters, including Culinary Arts Manager Chef Bernard Casavant and Indigenous Studies professor Bill Cohen, among many others.

“It’s been a real community effort,” says Isaac.

A new initiative aimed at helping students is also launching at this year’s event. A 50/50 draw is being held in conjunction with the Okanagan College Foundation. All the proceeds from the draw are earmarked for a new scholarship for Aboriginal students taking Adult Academic and Career Preparation programs at the College. 

Visitors will also get to enjoy craft vendors selling authentic Aboriginal artwork, carvings, and beadwork, including Dorothy Clough and Marsha King of First Nation Crafts, Barbara Patkiw of Native Bead Works, and Morning Dove Hall ixastcawt who makes jewelry from shells and antlers. 

In addition, more than 200 youth from private band schools across the Okanagan, including sənsísyustən House of Learning, Studio 9 Independent School of the Arts, Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School and OKIB K-7 Sqilxw Cultural Immersion School, have been invited to attend this year’s festivities. 

For the fifth time Richard Jackson brings his infectious energy as MC, Noel Ferguson reprises his role as ceremonial Whip Man – otherwise known as the arena director – and the invited drum troops are crowd-favourites Iron Mountain and Little Hawk.

“The powwow is a great chance to celebrate our youth, highlight the richness of who we are, and the strengths of our culture,” says Isaac. 

“The more we do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.” 

The powwow festivities start at 10 a.m. and run to 2 p.m., but for those who can’t make it Okanagan College is streaming the event live at www.okanagan.bc.ca/powwow.