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Visitors travel to Regina for 45th annual FNUniv Spring Celebration Powwow

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Visitors from across the province and beyond travelled to Regina for the 45th annual First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) Spring Powwow.

The competition event regularly brings in powwow drum groups from across North America, making it an exciting contest for spectators.

Henry Gardipy has been a member of the Wild Horse drum group since the mid 1990’s. Over that span, he has sung with over five different groups of singers under the Wild Horse name.

For Gardipy, powwow singing is closely tied with family lineage.

“It’s generational. Today, a lot of singers are born into this way of life,” he said.

Treian Whitehead has been singing powwow since he was six years old. He is a member of the Thunder Dancing Horse drum group and attributes singing to giving him a better life.

“Drumming has been amazing. It takes me places I never thought I would go in my life. Getting that skill set of singing, it opens up a lot of doors for not only me, but the people I sing with,” Whitehead said.

Cherish Jean-Baptiste, the chair of the FNUniv Powwow committee said getting talented drum groups to come and perform is an engagement built on respect. The drum is a significant object signifying the beat of Mother Earth and must be given the appropriate respect.

“Without the singers coming, we wouldn’t be able to host this beautiful celebration. This is why it’s very important to have singers come and treat them well while they’re here,” Jean-Baptiste said.

For many years, the FNUniv powwow was one of the first events of the year where singers and dancers could get active after the winter season.

Whitehead hopes to see new faces joining the powwow circle this year.

“If you’re starting out singing and you’re a beginner, I encourage you to keep going. Keep pushing through,” he said.

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