History of Celebrating Indigenous Students at USask
With its origins dating back to the 1980s, the university’s annual powwow was held to celebrate the academic success of Métis, First Nations and Inuit graduates from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and local secondary schools. The powwow was also a time to celebrate the Indigenous community and culture at USask and around the province. Over the years it was held in many locations including The Bowl, Griffiths Stadium, Convocation Hall and most recently Merlis Belsher Place. In the 2010s it grew to be the largest annual Indigenous event held by the university. At this time it attracted over 2,500 participants and required over 200 volunteers to run each year.
Initially the USask powwow was held during welcome week festivities as a Welcome Back Powwow. In 2010, it was moved to spring to celebrate the achievements of Indigenous USask and high school graduates.
In 2023 the powwow will return to the fall as part of the welcome festivities and will include Métis dancing.
USask Graduation Powwow 2010 to 2019
Due to the pandemic, the 2022 event was a small in-person celebration that brought graduates and their families together with university leadership, faculty, staff and community to celebrate and honour their academic success. The Indigenous Graduation Celebration included an honour walk, seating for family and friends, dancing, jigging, drumming, singing, a photographer taking photos of graduates and remarks from special guests.