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Graduation stoles

Stoles for Indigenous graduates at 2019's Graduation Pow Wow.

Indigenous community at UM to host virtual graduation celebration

April 23, 2020 — 

On May 2, the Indigenous campus community would have come together to celebrate the 31st Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow for Indigenous graduates at the University of Manitoba (UM). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing directives, the Pow Wow is now postponed until a later date and an online celebration will take place instead.

The Indigenous community at UM remains committed to celebrating the success of Indigenous graduates and is hosting an online celebration on Facebook Live on May 2 at 12 p.m.

“It’s really important for us, as a community, to find a safe way to honour the hard work of all the Indigenous graduates this year,” says Christine Cyr, director of the Indigenous Student Centre. “Especially during stressful times, we want to ensure the graduates know they have a community that supports them.”

Students were invited to submit their information such as their photo, faculty and future career plans to be included in a compilation video complete with guest speakers, Elders, entertainment and more.

“I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and cheering the other graduates on and spending time with my family,” says Charlene Hallett, who is graduating with a bachelor in human ecology from the Family Social Sciences program, specializing in child and youth development and family violence, with a minor in Native studies. “Graduating now, during all of this that is happening around us, is the biggest testament to our strength and resilience.”

Brendan Wood, graduating with a bachelor of arts in criminology and a minor in Native studies, also plans on sharing a meal with those he lives with during the celebration. Although he noted the stress of earning his degree, Woods says he will miss the presence on campus. “I will really miss being a student – going to campus, classes, libraries, Migizii Agamik, the Active Living Centre and meeting other students.” 

Graduating with an advanced bachelor of arts in Native Studies, Carlie Kane shared similar sentiments. “Graduating during a pandemic is something I didn’t think I would ever do,” she says. “I am looking forward to [returning to] normalcy and seeing my friend and family, but will miss the community at Migizii Agamik the most.”

Everyone is invited to watch the celebrations from the comfort of their own homes. To ensure you get the Facebook Live notification, please like the Indigenous Student Centre at UM page on Facebook.

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