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Ian Hotomani remembered by U of M community

Flag at half-mast in honour of organizer and director of annual Graduation Pow Wow

November 13, 2015 — 

The administration flag will be at half-mast on Friday, November 13 in honour of Ian Hotomani who passed away on November 9 after a long battle with diabetes.

Hotomani helped organize and direct the Graduation Pow Wow from its inception in 1990. He volunteered his traditional knowledge, teachings, service and time to the University of Manitoba’s annual graduation event.

“Besides being the Arena Director – which is a key and leading role in the Pow Wow – Ian participated in all fundraising and planning events,” says Christine Cyr, director of the Indigenous student centre at the U of M.

“He allowed his Family Eagle Feather Staff to be used as the lead staff for the Grand Entry until we receieved our own Migizii Agamik staff in 2013. Ian’s generosity in lending this to us was a very big way of honouring our Pow Wow ceremony.”

Hotomani was actively involved in the community, promoting and teaching traditional Indigenous knowledge in schools, community clubs, colleges and universities. Along with his drum troupe, he was a regular performer at many U of M events.

“A warrior, a leader, a teacher, a singer, a dancer, a mentor, a traveler, an orator and a true friend…that is what Ian represented to me,” says Brenda Lee Lafreniere, a personal counsellor in the Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs at the U of M. “He took great pride and was dedicated and committed to ensuring that the University of Manitoba and the graduates were honoured in the best way possible. In addition, he played a major role in the U of M Annual Elders Gatherings, always there with the Red Thunder Drum Group to honour the Elders and traditional ways of the people. As traditional teacher he was always kind, gentle and respectful and he was always there to ensure the traditional ways of the Indigenous people were respected and not forgotten. We will miss him always.”

“Ian was very committed to working with the U of M in a productive and gentle way,” says Cyr. “As an institution, we have lost a friend, a teacher, and a valuable member of our Pow Wow and Indigenous community.”

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