U of G hosts the National Aboriginal Physical Activity and Wellness Conference
The National Aboriginal Physical Activity and Wellness Conference’s pow wow, featured drumming, dancing, and singing on Johnston Green at the University of Guelph.
In addition to the cultural aspects of the pow wow, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment are providing soccer, hockey, and basketball activities for the youth.
Kim Wheatley, a member of the board of directors for the Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario, taught the audience the buffalo yell, sang “The Water Song” by Josephine Mandamin, and spoke to the audience about the importance of caring for Mother Earth.
“We’re walking on the body of our beautiful Earth Mother,” said Wheatley. She also explained that drumming with one’s feet, as one does during traditional dances, brings up the medicine within the Earth.
Wheatley acknowledged the Attawandaron people, Mississauga territory, and Anishinaabe land.
The clothing of the dancers is called regalia and the designs represent various aspects of the dancers such as their language, the nation they belong to, their clan, and more, explained Wheatley.
Wheatley expressed that the Anishinaabe people are not recognizing Canada’s sesquicentennial because “there’s not a lot to celebrate.” She explained that they were here long before 150 years and joked that Christopher Columbus didn’t discover us, “we discovered him.”
Wheatley also drew attention to #88 or #team88 several times; the hashtag references The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #88. According to the North American Indigenous Games website, this action “calls on all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth through continued support of the North American Indigenous Games.”
Although the grand entry took place today at 12 p.m., the event will continue until 6 p.m this evening.
Photos by Mariah Bridgeman/The Ontarion.