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Annual Report 2017

Powwow celebrates culture and community

UNB’s campuses are located on traditional Wolastoqey land, and celebrating Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqey and other First Nation cultures is woven into our fabric.

The annual UNB Powwow, hosted at our Fredericton campus in conjunction with our Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, provides a unique opportunity for not just the university community but the wider public to participate in, learn about and celebrate the traditions and cultures of the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqey people.

Celebrating and growing traditions

The third annual UNB Powwow was held April, 2017 focusing on the resilience of First Nation cultures and communities. The theme, Askomiw (Beyond) 150: Celebration of Resilience, signalled how First Nations people continue to demonstrate strength and perseverance after 150 years of Canadian policies designed to eradicate their culture and their power.

“They have survived and continue to grow in contemporary times. The traditional songs and dances at the powwow honor our ancestors and the cultural gems they have passed on to succeeding generations,” said David Perley, director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre.

The annual event celebrates Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy languages, traditions, teachings, ceremonies, and philosophies. These and other cultural elements hold great significance and are a source of pride and identity for Wolastoqey, Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy people.

The event showcases traditional First Nation drumming, chanting and dancing performed in ceremonial regalia. First Nation vendors are invited to sell art, crafts, food, and other local products.

Resiliency through community

The word askomiw in the Wolastoqey language means “beyond” or “forever.” The theme Askomiw 150 reinforces the historical fact that Canada sits on traditional First Nations territories across the country. The title also states that First Nations people will continue to be a presence in Canada as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows.

“Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqey and Passamaquoddy cultures will have permanent presence in the life of New Brunswick,” says Mr. Perley. “Our cultural treasures will forever be an important component of New Brunswick’s identity. As Canadians celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada, let us also celebrate resiliency of First Nation cultures.”

Past UNB Powwow themes have focused on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and honouring & sharing Mi’kmaq & Wolastoqey cultures.