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Grad Pow Wow provides ‘full circle moment’ for Indigenous students

Three students share their personal stories and what the graduation celebration means to them

May 2, 2023 — 

The Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow, which takes place on May 6, is not only a celebration of culture and achievement for Indigenous graduating students, it’s also a deeply personal and reflective moment for them.

Just ask Bobby McNair, Tréchelle Bunn and Alicia Rae Kubrakovich, all of whom may be on different journeys but nonetheless share a similar view on the importance and meaning of attending the pow wow that includes a Pipe Ceremony, presentations to the graduates and a community feast.

“To have a celebration that not only celebrates my achievements of becoming a doctor, but also my Indigenous identity, there’s something really powerful about those ceremonies,” says McNair. “To be able to have that in one special day, to celebrate myself and my colleagues who are there is really a special experience.”

This year’s Grad Pow Wow – the 34th annual – will take place on May 6 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre on UM’s Fort Garry campus. Read more about the event here and watch Bobby, Tréchelle and Alicia Rae tell their stories.

Bobby McNair

Bobby McNair, who grew up in Roseisle and God’s Lake Narrows, Manitoba, shares his story of growth as a Métis student at UM and his mission to close the gap between doctors and the province’s rural health care system. Watch Bobby’s video above or click here.

Tréchelle Bunn

A member of Birdtail Sioux Dakota Nation, Tréchelle Bunn’s goal is to become a lawyer and work towards combating the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system. She is graduating from UM with a degree in criminology, with a minor in Indigenous studies.

Alicia Rae Kubrakovich

Alicia Rae Kubrakovich, from Pine Creek First Nation, concentrated on Indigenous studies at UM with a focus on Anishinaabemowin and a minor in family social sciences. Kubrakovich shares how a family connection inspired her to succeed at UM.

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