TRURO – Chasity Lucio wants to build up diversity and tear down stereotypes, and she’s hoping the annual Mawi’omi will help achieve that goal.
Lucio, the co-ordinator of aboriginal student services at the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro, hopes the sixth annual Mawi’omi at the NSCC on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will be a powerful event for Natives and non-natives alike.
The event celebrates First Nations culture and people through exhibitions of drumming and dancing as well as a display of crafts.
“We want to celebrate diversity and culture in a broader community sense. Lots of people aren’t sure what to expect (at the Mawi’omi) so we want to help increase an understanding of First Nations and the beauty of its culture and to take away the negative stigma,” said Lucio, a Truro resident.
“And I’ve heard from some First Nations people who were away from their (native) communities and they said it felt like they were coming home. It rejuvenates them.”
For others, Lucio said, it’s an opportunity to experience a new tradition.
“Some people have never experienced any kind of diversity,” she said. “We want to open up communication … the more we know about each other the less fear there is. People hunger for more cultural diversity and knowledge and breaking down stereotypes.”
Lucio said the Mawi-omi will include participants from throughout Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick and attendance grows yearly.
“Hundreds come in each year. More and more people and elementary (schools) come.”
Lucio’s husband, Armando, who is originally from Texas, has been participating in Mawi’omis for about 20 years.
“It’s a way to keep our culture strong, particularly for the youth. Much of our culture is lost and traditions are not as strong as they used to be,” said Armando. “It’s good to embrace we who are with pride.”
The Lucios encourages the community to attend the Mawi’omi on Tuesday. The event is open to everyone.