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Celebration showcases Aboriginal traditions

The Celebration of Indigenous Arts, Culture and Dance on March 16 will feature performances from First Nations, Inuit and Métis dancers.

Aboriginal dancers, musicians and artisans from across Ontario will converge on Queen’s campus this week for the first-annual Celebration of Indigenous Arts, Culture and Dance.

Hosted by the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC), the celebration is an opportunity to showcase the traditions and cultures of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, particularly the local Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Nations, through song, dance, food and artwork.

“This is a way to share Indigenous traditions and create awareness of the different cultures, as well as help people feel comfortable with the customs and history of the First Nations,” says Janice Hill, Director, FDASC. “It is important to understand that the Aboriginal Peoples are not just another ethnic group. We are the first people of this land and the university sits on the territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee.”

The celebration replaces the Educational Pow Wow, which was held outside and mostly attended by the Indigenous population. Organizers have moved the new event indoors, to the Queen’s Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC). They hope all community members participate.

The day-long celebration may feature a big drum performance, along with fancy dancers, jingle-dress dancers, crow hop dancers, hoop dancers and traditional dancers, all based in the Anishinaabe tradition. Haudenosaunee performers will play social songs and offer a smoke dance; an Inuit group will lead a drum dance and throat singing; and a Métis group will be fiddling and performing the Métis jig.

Aboriginal artisans – stonecarvers, basket makers and bead and leather workers —will give demonstrations and have their crafts for sale. Plenty of traditional foods will be available, including fried breads and meats, corn soup, Three Sisters soup (corn, squash and beans), and strawberry drink.

The celebration takes place Saturday, March 16, 10 am–4:30 pm, in the ARC’s main gymnasium. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information, contact fdevent@queensu.ca or visit www.queensu.ca/fdasc