International guests attend Heart of the Youth Pow Wow

International guests attend Heart of the Youth Pow Wow

The Heart of the Youth Pow Wow on Friday in Kinsmen Park had several guests in attendance including a cultural exchange of academic researchers in Indigenous life.

Shawana Andrews from Australia and Dr. Hinekura Smith from New Zealand were invited to attend the Pow Wow. The duo are on a cultural exchange, and came to Prince Albert after connecting with colleagues at the University of Regina. They engage in cultural practices to support their research, and wanted to see the Heart of the Youth Pow Wow firsthand.

Both Smith and Andrews were impressed by the Heart of the Youth Pow Wow.

“It’s wonderful, I mean you have young people, we have adults, there are Elders. I think stepping into such a new space it’s important just to stop and to feel and to observe,” Smith said.

“We talked a lot last night and it’s incredibly important for us to be respectful and move and write in proper ways in this space. We are incredibly grateful to the committee and particularly these amazing young leaders and youths who have been out to guide us and give us advice in this space, it would be inappropriate just to walk in here,” she added.

Andrews was amazed by the Indigenous culture on display at the Pow Wow.

“This has been wonderful, we don’t really have something like this in Australia where this many people gather to engage in ceremony,” she said.

“For me seeing these young people, the heart of the youth is what this is for, so to see these young people walking around with their chins up, walking in their culture with pride and reclaiming their culture in a public space is empowering.”

Andrews is a Trawlwoolway Palawa woman who researches social health and wellbeing at the University of Melbourne. Smith is Maori and focuses on education research at the University of Auckland.

Andrews said Indigenous people have similarities that go beyond how they were treated by colonial powers, and it’s important to focus on those stories as well.

“As indigenous people globally, we are scholars, we are scientists, we have a long intellectual tradition, and so finding similarities and ways to connect in the context of those traditions is really important,” she said.

“As Indigenous people, everything that we do is about wellbeing and about transformative practice and work for the wellbeing of people,” Smith added. “We all three come from colonized and oppressed experiences and histories.”

Smith said they have seen similarities and differences in Indigenous cultures as they’ve toured through Saskatchewan. Both were grateful to receive and invitation to view the Heart of the Youth Pow Wow in Prince Albert.

“It’s been a privilege to be invited to this and to experience this,” Smith said.

Other guests included representatives from the Living Skies Regional Council Annual Meeting which is being hosted by Calvary United Church.