The 39th annual First Nations University Powwow is underway this weekend. For many of the close to one-thousand dancers involved, it’s a tradition that runs through the generations.

Two-year-old Itoncha Goodwill participated in the powwow, after his father Darwin Goodwill noticed Itoncha’s curiosity.

“The past couple of months, he's been showing a lot of interest in dancing: mainly the grass dance, like what I dance and most of my family dances,” said Goodwill. “The way he moves is funny to watch, because he watches me, he watches my dad, (he) watches everybody that's dancing out there. You can tell he enjoys it.”

The event includes 31 dance categories, and typically draws between 6,000 and 7,000 visitors.

“This is kind of the first powwow of the year, so it kicks off the powwow season,” said powwow committee chairperson Richard Missens. “All winter, dancers have been getting ready, preparing regalia and bringing out new beadwork.”

For participants, the powwow is about recognizing culture and keeping traditions strong.

“I think this is the best way to keep (traditions) going, because you're having fun,” said Goodwill. “From the young to (the) real old, everybody just really enjoys being here because it uplifts people.”