Dancers in colourful regalia dancing together at pow wow

Event details

  • Pow wow drummers
  • Date: May 4, 2024

    Location: Investors Group Athletic Centre, UM Fort Garry campus


    9:45 a.m.          Pipe Ceremony 

    12:00 p.m.        Grand Entry

    1:30 p.m.          Grad ceremony

    3:30 p.m.          Community meal

    4:30 p.m.          Intertribal and category dancing

    7:00 p.m.          Closing prayer

Information for graduates

All Canadian Indigenous graduates (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) are encouraged to participate in the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow so we can honour you for successfully completing your post-secondary program.

To be eligible for the annual pow wow, you must be graduating or have already graduated during the current 2023-2024 academic year.

Graduates are invited to participate in the whole day, beginning with the Pipe Ceremony.

Registration for the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow will open March 18, 2024.

Students graduating in October 2024 can attend the 2025 graduation pow wow.

Accessibility for students

Please contact Grace Redhead at by April 22, 2024 for assistance with seating, sign language interpretation or other accessibility support.

Information for guests and visitors

Thank you for coming to celebrate the success of our Indigenous graduates! You are invited to attend all parts of the day.

Pipe Ceremony

A pipe ceremony is a sacred ceremony. The Elder or Knowledge Keeper conducting the ceremony will offer a blessing for attendees of the Graduation Pow Wow, the graduates, and those who will join us to dance and spend the day. We welcome all to join us for the pipe ceremony to open our day of celebrating and honouring the graduates.

Please ensure you're seated before the start of the ceremony. The ceremony may last up to an hour and skirts will be available for those who would like to borrow one to wear for the ceremony.

After the pipe ceremony, guests may return to their seats in the visitors' area as preparations begin for the dancers and singers.

Please note: All visitors, community members and other UM graduates are asked to enter the Investors Group Athletic Centre gymnasium via the stairs/elevator to the third floor.

Grand Entry, graduation ceremony, dancing and community feast

For the rest of the day, you are encouraged to stay and watch the many different types of beautiful pow wow dances, visit the craft tables on the third floor and attend the community feast following the honouring of the graduates. The feast will be served in Investors Group Athletic Centre.

Please note that there are various times throughout the day when visitors are encouraged to come down to the pow wow floor. These may include Intertribal Dances and Specials like the Hoop Dance. The emcee will explain and announce these opportunities.

Accessibility for guests

There are mobility-friendly seating areas on the main floor of the venue, however, wheelchairs are not available for use during the ceremony or reception.

If you have any questions throughout the day, please look for volunteers wearing black t-shirts or staff/security helpers.

Information for VIPs and Honoured Guests participating in Grand Entry

We thank you for being part of this celebration.

The Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow Grand Entry is a procession of community flags, Indigenous veterans, VIPs from the campus and wider community who have contributed to the success of the graduates and, of course, the graduates themselves.

For Grand Entry, please ensure you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start time and register your name at the appropriate desk in the Investors Group Athletic Centre. You will be directed to your position by the Arena Director or by UM staff. *It is important for you to remain in this specific order before and during the Grand Entry.

Tobacco will be presented to you in appreciation of your participation of the day's events. You will be acknowledged by the emcee for your support. After the Grand Entry, you may place the tobacco on a drum of your choice or you may place the tobacco in a bowl provided at the front of the stage.

Indigenous Graduation Stoles

The original idea for the stole (or scarf) came from Indigenous alumnus Dene Beaudry [BA/14] in his graduating year. He envisioned a physical and visual item that would distinguish and highlight First Nation, Métis and Inuit graduates as Indigenous Peoples. Following consultation with UM Indigenous staff, students and faculty, the idea of the stole was born.

  • The stole design

    The design was created based on specific colours and symbols meaningful to both Indigenous people in general and to Indigenous students at UM.

    The stole's main colour is purple, which represents balance. In traditional teachings, women are represented by blue (the colour of water) and men are represented by red (the colour of fire). By combining the two, we find a balance. The yellow, red, white and blue ribbons represent the official colours of Migizii Agamik—Bald Eagle Lodge, as determined through a traditional naming ceremony led by Elder Charlie Nelson.

  • A table full of folded purple indigenous graduation scarfs.

Debuting the stoles

For the 25th anniversary of the pow wow, stoles were gifted to all Indigenous graduates who attended in May 2014, as well as to Indigenous alumni in attendance. They have since become a treasured symbol of pride and honour within the Indigenous community, representing the foundation of culture and the achievement and success of our students. In 2016, they became recognized as part of official academic dress.

This year, for the 35th graduation pow wow anniversary, a new stole design is being introduced which honours original design elements.

How to get your stoles

Stoles are presented at the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow to Indigenous students who self-identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit. Students are encouraged to wear their stoles at their UM convocation.

If you are unable to attend the pow wow but would like a stole to wear for convocation, you can receive your stole in person at convocation from one of two locations:

  1. Max Bell Centre (Fort Garry campus) convocation floor – Indigenous Student Centre table 
  2. Joe Doupe Recreation Centre at the Ongomiizwin Education Table located in the lower level of the Brodie Centre at 727 McDermot Avenue (Bannatyne campus)

If you receive a stole at pow wow but forget to bring it to convocation, you can borrow one by leaving a piece of government-issued ID or a $50 deposit at the Indigenous Student Centre table. Stoles must be returned immediately following your convocation ceremony.

Stoles are meant to be worn at the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow and at convocation as a visual symbol of cultural acknowledgement. They will not be provided to students after convocation.


Nominate a staff or faculty member for the Migizii Award

Is there a staff or faculty member who was an exceptional help to you throughout your degree? The Migizii Award celebrates a university staff or faculty member (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) who went above and beyond for you or other Indigenous students during your post-secondary journey.

Indigenous graduates are invited to nominate a UM staff or faculty member (Indigenous or non-Indigenous) who has made a significant impact on their post-secondary journey. The award will be presented at the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow.

Terms of Reference


  1. Any Indigenous or non-Indigenous staff or faculty member of the University of Manitoba (including recently retired staff or faculty).
  2. Past recipients of the award can be nominated but cannot win the award in consecutive years.


  1. All Canadian Indigenous Graduates (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) are encouraged to submit a nomination. To be eligible as a nominator, you must be eligible to register for Pow Wow.


  1. When submitting a nomination, students are asked to consider how this person has inspired them academically, intellectually, culturally, spiritually, physically and/or influenced them in a positive way.
  2.  Nominations are to be a minimum of 250 words and not to exceed 500 words.
  3. Students may nominate more than one person.

NOMINATION DEADLINE: Thursday, April 28 by 4:30 PM (CST). 


Volunteering for Pow Wow

All UM students, staff and community are invited to volunteer at the graduation pow wow. Volunteers play a crucial role in assisting the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) team to ensure a smooth and successful event.

Volunteer Training Sessions

Volunteers MUST attend one training session. All training sessions will be held in-person, or in a hybrid format via Zoom if required.

Information for vendors

We offer space on a first-come, first-served basis for craft vendors at the pow wow. Check back soon for more details.

Please note that security is not available in the vendor area and we are not responsible for vendor belongings.

Pow Wow FAQ

Where do I park?

The parking lots closest to Investors Group Athletic Centre (IGAC) is I Lot and Q Lot. Parking is free in designated areas  (except for reserved spots). There is limited reserved parking in P Lot for anyone with accessibility needs.

What should I wear?

There is no dress code for audience members; however, please dress modestly. For example, don’t wear a bathing suit or a t-shirt with curse words on it. Comfortable footwear is recommended. If you are wearing a hat, please remove it during the Grand Entry, Invocation, Honour, Memorial, Flag, Veterans, and Closing Songs.

This is my first Pow Wow. Do I have to sign up?

Welcome to your first Pow Wow! No sign-up or registration is required – you can just come.

Who are the key people at a Pow Wow?

The Arena Director is responsible for coordinating the dancers, drum groups and special guests who take part in special events and ceremonies at the Pow Wow.

The Master of Ceremony (or Emcee) is responsible for announcing the events and guiding the Pow Wow. He/she keeps the order of the drum groups, explains the dances and protocols, tells jokes and announces events.

And of course, the Graduation Pow Wow exists to honour the Indigenous graduates. Please help us congratulate them on their successes and wish them well.

We have many volunteers who can help answer questions. Look for the black t-shirts that say “Volunteer.”

What are the different kinds of dances?

At Graduation Pow Wow you will see Fancy Feather and Shawl, Traditional Cloth and Buckskin, Jingle Dress and Grass dancing.

Later in the day everyone will be invited to find a partner and join in the fun of the potato dance!

Can anybody participate in the dancing?

If someone asks you to dance, you may do so. The Master of Ceremony will invite the audience to the dance area during Intertribal songs, Honour songs and Métis specials.

The regalia are beautiful – am I allowed to touch them?

No, please don’t touch anyone’s regalia, or their hair/braids. These are all sacred and personal.

Am I allowed to come for just part of the day?

Yes! You are welcome to come and go at any time during the day. Please check the schedule to be sure you are present for any specific events that are important to you.

How do I get to the feast?

The feast is taking place inside Investors Group Athletic Centre on the floor behind the stage. Please allow for Elders to be served first.

Can I take pictures?

Yes. However, do not take pictures during prayers or when the Master of Ceremonies has said not to. If you are taking pictures of dancers in regalia, it is always good to ask first.

Are there any other rules I should be aware of?

No drinking or drug use is allowed at Pow Wow. Please remember that the dance area is sacred, so refrain from swearing and other negative behaviour.

Selling crafts in the stands is prohibited at the Annual Traditional Graduation Pow Wow.

The chairs on the main floor are reserved for singers and dancers.

Please help us keep the ceremony building clean. Put all garbage and recycling in the appropriate bins.

Contact us

Contact a Traditional Graduation Pow Wow planning committee member at:

Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge
114 Sidney Smith St.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada