Mark you calendars for the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow

Mark you calendars for the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow

By Melanie Ferris

It’s the most exciting time of the year for some Manitoba folks—the launch of Pride Winnipeg happens on Fri. May 25 with a flag raising at Winnipeg’s City Hall. Soon after, the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow will happen at The Forks. Mark your calendars for Sat. June 2 as you don’t want to miss this exciting event.

Last year, the Two Spirit Pow Wow was a new event for Pride Winnipeg. Including a pow wow as part of the celebrations is an impressive step for many reasons, including the fact that according to many cultural practices, two-spirit people have been revered by their communities.

“The pow wow originated from Kelly Houle, who wanted to have a pow wow as part of Pride last year,” explains Levi Foy, Like That Program Coordinator at Sunshine House. “She went to Pride meetings and asked what kind of support we would have from them. Then she worked with Two Spirit People of Manitoba and we made a makeshift volunteer committee to make it work.”

The term “two spirit” is a way some Indigenous people refer to those in their communities who may identify as gender-variant, gay, lesbian, queer, and/or trans.

Pow wows are a great opportunity for people from all cultures to come together to dance, sing, celebrate, and make new friendships.

“Pow wows are an important time to celebrate ourselves and to share our gifts with others,” explains Foy. “My favorite pow wow memory is when I went to a pow wow by Kenora with my grandma and her sister, Dorothy. It was so cool because it was one of the few times I heard them speak about growing up and their past. I think I was 12 then.”

“It was very well received from the community and we had a lot of support,” Foy states. “This year we are anticipating there will be more people so we require a bit more effort in fundraising and what not.”

For the second year in a row year, Pride Winnipeg has been working hard to branch out and bring more diversity to both its advertising materials as well as the events.

The Two Spirit Pow Wow is a great way to create a safe and celebratory space for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to come together and share in the rich culture of First Nations people.

“I encourage everyone to come visit the site that day!” Foy continues, “If people are interested in donating please contact comms@sunshinehousewpg.org.”

Pride Winnipeg events continue throughout the week, culminating in an exciting and lively rally and parade on Sun. June 3. You can join in the rally at the Manitoba Legislature grounds beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

You can also find a wide variety of Pride events, including “queen” bowling, rooftop parties, single’s nights, a church service, a vigil, a talk about mental health, an awareness workshop for immigrants and international students, lesbian lube wrestling, a Pride run, a slo-pitch tournament, bingo, an underwear party, and more!