Labour of Love — Student Helps Organize Annual Spring Pow Wow
Originally published in the Spring 2016 UWinnipeg Magazine
March is one of the busiest months on campus, as students wind up their classes and start prepping for final exams. Yet Grace Redhead manages to squeeze long days volunteering as Chair of UWinnipeg’s Annual Spring Pow Wow into her schedule—a labour of love that has engaged her for the past four years.
Originally from Shamattawa First Nation in northern Manitoba, Redhead attended high school outside Edmonton and became an active member in the Pow Wow community. “The very first time I set foot on The University of Winnipeg campus, I was 19 years old attending the Spring Pow Wow. It made it seem much less of a scary place to me.” She is now completing her third year of study in UWinnipeg’s integrated Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education program.
Redhead deliberately involved high school students as volunteers in UWinnipeg’s 14th Annual Spring Pow Wow, which took place on March 19, 2016. She wanted to expose them to campus so they, too, might realize they can attend university. This year’s theme centered around water as the sacred life-giving force.
According to Redhead, UWinnipeg’s event officially starts the Pow Wow “season” and is the place where many participants reveal their new regalia, often the culmination of many hours of sewing and beading. UWinnipeg’s Spring Pow Wow has steadily grown over the years and now attracts several thousand community members, 300 registered dancers and 20 different drum groups.
“For Indigenous students who are graduating, this is a real recognition of their accomplishments within the community,” said Redhead.