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The 2023 Tuna Powwow took place March 25th in the Trent Athletic Centre. Photo: Tom Arban Photography

Connecting to Culture Through Community

Written by
Bethanie Dusome
and
and
April 18, 2023
Connecting to Culture Through Community
The 2023 Tuna Powwow took place March 25th in the Trent Athletic Centre. Photo: Tom Arban Photography

Growing up, my family wasn’t involved in any Métis cultural activities. In fact, we weren’t involved in our culture as a whole. It wasn’t until high school that I started to learn about my culture, but even then, it was only slightly, and I didn’t fully start learning until I started university. As I didn’t grow up around my culture, I hadn’t gone to any powwows or things of that nature at all until I was eighteen. My first powwow was the 2019 Curve Lake Powwow in the fall of my first year. I had a blast and learned a lot.

I’ve only been to three powwows, the third being Trent University’s Native Association’s annual Powwow on March 25th, 2023. The other one was also Curve Lake  in 2022. As I am still learning  about not only Métis Culture, but Indigenous Culture as a whole, I’m always nervous to go to these events. I always enjoy going, but I’m always worried about what I’m doing and sometimes  feel a bit out of place. The people are always welcoming regardless, but I personally feel out of place because I struggle with the thought that I should know more than I do. Almost like it’s my fault that I don’t, even when I know that’s not true.

Luckily I could go with one of my close friends, Meagan Thompson, who I met during the summer of 2022 at our summer job with the Métis Nation of Ontario. We ended up being in a similar situation. We didn’t learn about our culture growing up; now, we’re teaching or reaching out to learn about it ourselves. We’re also trying to teach our families about the different things we’re learning about because we find it so interesting and amazing. It seems like it came with this connection, which is kind of hard to describe. It was just an instantaneous connection to our culture once we started learning about it. 

We attended our last two powwows together as we both felt nervous and out of place but wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zones so that we could learn more about our culture and make more of those connections to it. That is one of the many reasons powwows are so incredible. T.U.N.A’s powwow was just that. It was full of incredible music, beautiful dancing, and many incredible vendors.

This powwow was great for another reason as well. Meagan and I had the chance to bring two friends who had never gone to a powwow. One of these friends moved to Canada in December 2022, so there was plenty to teach her about. It was extra exciting because we had the opportunity to teach them about Métis culture and share something important to us. 

As I have been learning more about the Métis and other Indigenous cultures, I have found that sometimes even what could be seen as the smallest thing makes me so excited. For example, while attending the Indigenous Education conference in November, I got my first Ribbon skirt and this powwow was the first opportunity I had to wear it. That was another thing that made me both nervous and excited about attending. Maybe we feel this connection because we’re very excited to learn about everything. Still, there’s something about being around community, like at powwows, that makes believing that connection is fake really difficult.

I originally planned and wanted to talk more about the powwow itself, but after attending, I was reminded that you couldn’t really write something about the physical powwow. It started with a grand entry that included beautiful drumming and singing. More songs and dancing followed that, then we looked and shopped from the vendors. It’s just something you need to attend to and experience yourself, which I’d recommend anyone to do.

Arthur Spring Elections 2024
Miracle Territory April 20th
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish
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Arthur Spring Elections 2024
Miracle Territory April 20th
Severn Court (October-August)
Theatre Trent 2023/24
Arthur News School of Fish

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