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A group of pow wow dancers in colourful regalia.

Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow to celebrate 35th year

Community invited to recognize Indigenous graduates at UM

April 3, 2024 — 

Every year, the University of Manitoba and broader communities gather at the Fort Garry campus to celebrate Indigenous graduates at the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow. While the faces may change from year to year, one thing remains the same: the sense of excitement in the air.

“I love seeing how excited the families are,” says Carla Loewen, chair of the event’s planning committee and director of the Indigenous Student Centre. “It’s rewarding to see the students complete their degrees after all their hard work and accomplishments. We always look forward to bringing the community together to recognize them in this way.”

Celebrate the next generation of Indigenous leaders on May 4

One of the largest indoor pow wows in the province, the 35th Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow at UM will take place on Saturday, May 4 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.

All Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) graduates are invited to participate. UM students, staff, faculty, upcoming graduates, alumni and community members are invited to attend and show their support for this year’s Indigenous graduating class. The event is free for all to attend.

New this year is a rebrand of the stoles gifted to graduates, which will be unveiled at the event. “We’re launching a design that honours the original design elements, with a new flair,” says Loewen. Red River Métis singer/songwriter and UM alum Brandi Vezina has also been confirmed as part of the entertainment.

Get involved by volunteering at pow wow

Each year, volunteers play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and successful event. All UM students, staff and community are invited to volunteer at the graduation pow wow. Visit the UM website to register.

A weekend of pow wow celebrations

For the first time, three post-secondary institutions in Manitoba have coordinated efforts to host their graduation pow wows on the same weekend. RRC Polytech hosts its 24th Annual Pow Wow on Friday, May 3 and the University of Winnipeg hosts its 19th Annual Graduation Pow Wow on Sunday, May 5.

“It’s a big pow wow weekend. We expect to see an increase in participants and visitors as a result,” says Loewen. “Three graduation pow wows in one weekend is very exciting for the community.”

Graduation Pow Wow at UM event schedule

9:45 a.m. – Pipe ceremony
12 p.m. – Grand Entry
1:30 p.m. – Honouring the graduates
3:30 p.m. – Feast
4:30 p.m. – Intertribal and category dancing
7 p.m. – Closing prayer

Learn more about what to expect at this year’s graduation pow wow by checking out the FAQ section on the UM website.


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