An Indigenous block party welcomed Nuit Blanche Winnipeg’s attendees in front of 211 Pacific Avenue Saturday night.
The Pop-Up Powwow 2.0 (Friendship Dance Event) took place during Nuit Blanche in front of Synonym Art Consultation.
This is the second pop-up powwow hosted by the Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in partnership with Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival and Sākihiwē Festival.
Powwow dancers of all ages performed in regalia and invited the crowd to join in dancing with them for the last section of their show.
Shanley Spence performed at last year’s pop-up powwow and when she saw the call for dancers she jumped at the chance to perform at Nuit Blanche again.
Spence gave a hoop dance performance, then joined in with the rest of the powwow dancers in the dance circle. She has been dancing for most of her life.
“I was really lucky to be born to a mother who was really determined to get back to her culture and her cultural identity, and so as soon as I was born I was out at powwows and gatherings like this,” said Spence.
“I’ve been dancing powwow dance style, styles of dance like fancy shawl, since I could walk, pretty much.”
The powwow began with a traditional drum circle performance by Sons of the Drum, followed by Anishinaabe DJ Boogey and the Beat’s set.
“It’s really fun to dance with the traditional singers but then also dance to the new innovative contemporary-style type beats, so mixing the two together is so exciting,” said Spence.
Spence said that featuring Indigenous-centred events at Nuit Blanche can help build community in Winnipeg.
“It gives an Indigenous voice in a new light, in a new perspective and it kind of brings this very fiery, energetic energy and very welcoming energy,” she said.
“When it’s in the centre of the city […] it creates that message that we’re here, and we’re not scared, we’re not hiding out anywhere, and we’re here welcoming all of you.
“It’s just a beautiful message of inclusion and community.”