Campus Life  

Youth Exhibition Powwow returns for ninth year

Okanagan College Media Release

Aboriginal Hoop DancerThe cultural event of the fall season is back and about to kick off at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Community members are invited to join in the celebration of Indigenous culture at the 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the courtyard.

“Powwows are vibrant events and are full of excitement as it’s a time to come together and celebrate – celebrate our culture, celebrate Aboriginal youth and honour their educational journey,” says Anthony Isaac, Okanagan College Aboriginal Services Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing and create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.”

Dancers and drummers from across the British Columbia interior will perform in a variety of dance categories at the Powwow including fancy, grass, chicken and jingle. The invited drum groups are crowd favourites, Birch Creek and The Cliffs.

The high-energy, family-friendly event continues to draw large crowds each year.

“The Powwow has always been well-attended, we had approximately 1,000 people join the event last year and we anticipate even more this year,” says Isaac.

More than 600 students from various private band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition and members of the general public are also welcome.

Attendees will have a chance to taste a variety of traditional Indigenous food and peruse offerings from craft vendors selling artwork, carvings, beadwork and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 draw with proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students.

“The Powwow is intended to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members from across the region and is a place of cross-cultural learning for everyone,” says Isaac. “It highlights the richness of our culture and how Okanagan College is committed to fostering a learning environment that encourages students to embrace their heritage as they pursue their educational goals.”

The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2016 the College delivered educational programming to almost 1,700 Aboriginal students, which is nearly 200 more than last year.

Richard Jackson of the Lower Nicola Indian Band is returning as Master of Ceremony and is once again joined by Arena Director Noel Ferguson. Jackson will also be presenting at a pre-powwow seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 2 - 3 p.m. in the Student Services building at the Kelowna campus. The seminar is free to attend and aims to teach the meaning behind powwow dances, songs and protocols before the main powwow event on Thursday.

The 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow festivities run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the Kelowna campus courtyard. Attendance is free and open to the public. For those who cannot attend, Okanagan College is streaming the event live atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/powwow.


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