A ceremony of celebration

Second annual campus mawio’mi takes place Tuesday

- September 29, 2011

A dancer performs at last year's mawio'mi. (Bruce Bottomley photo)
A dancer performs at last year's mawio'mi. (Bruce Bottomley photo)

It’s a tradition that dates back thousands of years – a celebration that brings people together through music, dance and history, and that, translated from Mi’kmaq, means “gathering.”

It’s in that spirit of unity and togetherness that the Studley quad will be filled with colour and song next week as the university hosts its second annual mawio’mi (pronounced mow-we-o-mi) in celebration of Mi’kmaq History Month.

The event, open to all, takes place Tuesday, Oct. 4. Starting at 12:45 p.m. with a ceremonial procession led by Mi’kmaq elders, the event will include the raising of the Mi’kmaq flag by Chief Leroy Denny and Dalhousie Vice-President Academic Carolyn Watters. Afterwards, there will be dancing, drumming and a traditional feast. Activities will be held both on the quad and in the Studley Gymnasium (which is also the rain location).

A sense of pride and heritage

“This is not just about Mi’kmaq culture or aboriginal culture – it’s celebrating a crucial part of our Canadian heritage,” explains Kara Paul, program manager for the Dalhousie Aboriginal Health Sciences Initiative and one of the organizers.

“It means a lot to me that we can share our community and our heritage with everyone on campus. It fills me with a great sense of pride.”

This year’s mawio’mi—often better known as a pow wow—carries the theme “This is Our Way,” a powerful message that reinforces the idealism of the aboriginal community: branches may grow from a tree, but its roots are a beginning without an end.

The menu for the feast will feature traditional dishes including moose meat and luskinakin, or bannock. Students from the Dalhousie Native Students Association and others will take part in the dancing and music.

"It's for all aboriginal students to not only come together and celebrate our culture but also gives us an opportunity to share it with others," says Sara Swasson with the Native Students Association.

“This mawio’mi is a tremendous opportunity for the general Dalhousie University community to become aware of Canada’s collective heritage,” says Keith Taylor, associate vice-president, academic. “It’s truly something for everyone to experience.”


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