Annual Pow Wow returns to Fanshawe

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: EMILY STEWART
Child and Youth Care student and Indigenous Student Association vice-president Shea-Lynn Barberstock-Elijah will be the head dancer of the upcoming First Nations Centre and Institute of Indigenous Learning Pow Wow on March 26.

Fanshawe College’s First Nations Centre and The Institute of Indigenous Learning will host their annual Pow Wow. The event will be held in J Gym on March 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shea-Lynn Barberstock-Elijah, a first-year child and youth care student, will be the head dancer of the Pow Wow. She’s gone on the Pow Wow trail every summer since she first began dancing at four-years-old. Barberstock-Elijah attended Fanshawe’s Pow Wow last year for a short time.

“Coming now and being the head dancer for the first time is — [I’m] kind of nervous because I’ve never been a head dancer before, but excited because it’s new opportunity.” she said.

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Barberstock-Elijah said she became the head dancer after Chris Hannah, a student advisor for the Institute of Indigenous Learning, asked her if she wanted to participate. Barberstock-Elijah is also the vice-president of the Indigenous Student Association, and is responsible for creating new workshops and monthly socials like the Water Drum.

She said the First Nations Centre is like a home away from home for her.

“It’s become feeling like almost like a family where everybody’s trustworthy and friendly and welcoming.”

She encourages all students to attend the Pow Wow, to ask questions, and to try the food served at Pow Wows like Indian tacos, strawberry juice, and other snacks.

“It’s a new experience. Nobody knows what really happens and I think this is a good opportunity to show what really happens and stuff — rather than the stereotypes and just knowing by hearsay,” Barberstock-Elijah said. “It’s really good to see for yourself what it’s all about.”

When asked about stereotypes about Pow Wows that she hears, Barberstock-Elijah said that she’s heard stereotypes like the event is “too spiritual” or all that happens at Pow Wows is chanting. She said those stereotypes aren’t true, but you have to attend a Pow Wow yourself to know what it’s really about.

She mostly ignores any stereotypical comments and doesn’t say anything.

“When I do say something about it, I just try to like tell them to come and see for yourself and try to invite them out and be friendly,” Barberstock-Elijah said.

More information about the 2020 Pow Wow can be found on under “events” on the Fanshawe College First Nations Centre Facebook page.